Following Jesus of Nazareth

A woman rooted in reality

Madeleine Hutin was a woman firmly rooted in concrete reality. She believed fundamentally that the mystery of God should be respected rather than deliberately explored and was inclined to be sceptical about purported manifestations of the supernatural. It was after all precisely through the very human example of Jesus, the humble carpenter of Nazareth, that she had been drawn to follow God. The fear that she might in some way become the victim of illusion or imagination and her rejection of what she referred to as 'extraordinary ways' remained with her throughout her life. She was also concerned not to encourage members of the congregation she founded to pursue such ways. It was partly at least for this reason that it was not until 1974 that she spoke to her Sisters of what she referred to even then only somewhat obliquely as the 'graces' she had received at Saint Charles. Then in a letter, endeavouring to add a further dimension to what she had been telling them about the infant Jesus for the past thirty-five years, she confided that at Saint Charles the infant Jesus had asked her to 'bring him into the Fraternity to live there in the heart of each Little Sister'. 'And in a very palpable manner', she wrote in confidence to Fr Voillaume, 'tangible not so much to the external senses as to the faculties of the heart and soul, the Blessed Virgin gave me her little child Jesus.' The series of experiences she underwent during her noviciate, not least that of intimate union with the Christ child, she almost put down to being a dream, but only almost 'because from that day on there has been a great change in me.' She knew what her reaction would have been, had others spoken of such 'crazy things'. And yet the fruits of her experience were a greater desire for generosity and love, and it was these fruits that were important to her.