In the second place, in the most holy Eucharist we have a perfect model of the poverty, chastity and obedience of our little Institute.


Father Medaille does not speak here of canonical vows as they have been understood in the history of religious life within the Church. He refers rather to the three evangelical counsels named in the Gospels - poverty, chastity, obedience - and shows how these three virtues/energies within every person must be channeled and used for the enhancement of life for all humanity.


The Little Design, Father Medaille shares with us here, is to be an identifiable new way of life for all Christians. He takes great care in elaborating its core principles and how it can be lived within an ever-changing world milieu.  Religious women already living canonical vows may see this as a wonderful spiritual renewal animating their own living of the evangelical counsels. But dare we probe further.


Could it be that there is a prophetic call to look beyond what already exists and in characteristic Medaillan spirit, point to ‘the always more’. Yes, there is something that is more inclusive of all ‘the dear neighbours’ and offers a genuine form to a mystical spirituality of ONENESS that the Gospel of Jesus keeps calling us all to live. Like the Eucharist itself, ALL are equal and ALL are invited to the table for com-union and COMMUNITY.


We can observe the careful and respectful pen of Pere Medaille crafting this Letter… in a century that was trying to break ground within the given norms and yet … always open to ‘whatever God is pleased to make of his Institute.’ This Eucharistic Letter has been quietly feeding the contemplative roots of our spirituality and today it would seem to be sprouting to the surface of our consciousness with a new awakening. There is a shining new awareness.


The same founder, but a new direction … a future full of hope… is being given us… that expands the boundaries of canonical religious life to include all persons. Beyond the norm, beyond the form… manifests the Little Design! Such an epiphany!


The Little Design Community needs no canonical norms, yet follows the heart of any religious consecration in a life fully committed to the following of the Christ of the Gospels. It seems the time to risk new ‘holy bondings’ within the human family. Is it the time for all the Great Lovers of God to unite around the world in this little, hidden, self-emptied way? Can we welcome all within this expansive charism?

Have you experienced this shift in consciousness? 


#7 stmarys 2012-12-14 18:06
What does the world need? In the midst of the tension that exists, the world needs HOPE. I believe there is an enormous number of people (regardless of religious affiliation) who identify with the oneness to which the Gospels call us and Medaille recognized. This web-site is far-reaching and connects us - producing a power (gentle as it is) to offer hope through the lives of each and every one of us. I see it in my own life, my religious community, the community at large. We are drawn to support and encourage - to journey together.
#6 arletteh 2012-11-19 16:21
Virginia, it is so encouraging to hear that you, who have lived for many years the spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph as a consecrated religious,are still so inspired and energized by the spirituality in the Little Design!It vouches for the depth and genuineness of it!
#5 slees 2012-11-16 16:20
Three areas from the reflection and the comments offered much food for prayer and gratitude...Fir st, I was drawn to the prayer of Jesus for all who wanted to follow him¨ ...protect them in in your name...,so that they may be one, as we are one."(John 17: 11); next, I recalled the Consensus Statement that I memorized during my associate preparation: "Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of Love and receptive to the Spirit's inspirations... the Sister of St. Joseph moves always towards profound love of God and of neighbor without distinction from whom she does not separate herself..."; and, finally, Sister Rosemary's sentence about Fr. Medaille crafting the letter in a careful and respectful manner. In reviewing Jesus' prayer, I wondered if I have truly prayed this prayer believing it is already at work in the world. The Consensus Statement was a wonderful review and check on what I was about, and how I might be doing, especially the idea of loving without distinction and without separating myself in mind, heart, or body from other persons, longing for community. Finally, I reflected on the need for patience as I craft the next moment with care and respect for what has gone before, as well as openness to what may come next. Thanks.
#4 debbiec 2012-11-13 18:44
This is a lovely line, Rosemary, that you have written: "We can observe the careful and respectful pen of Pere Medaille crafting this Letter… in a century that was trying to break ground within the given norms..." When I read it, I thought how appropriate for this century, too. The awakening consciousness that is happening worldwide is also breaking new ground within given norms. The memes of 21st Century are challenging much of how we live within/with "the Institute". In many ways, it is an exciting time to be alive and to experience Medaille's vision unfolding again.
#3 rosemaryo 2012-11-12 22:12
Yes, the shift in consciousness happened for me some years ago and increasingly, the wisdom and way of the Litte Design community is my 'one thing necessary' in following the Risen Christ now. As a vowed religious for some 47 years,I trust that I am being led along a way that breaks open and rebirths an original vision that lies at the pristine essence of our charism. If you haven't read already the pages under the heading HISTORY ... you too might be comforted to know - as I was- that Margurerite Vacher says in her latest book, Nuns without Cloister:

Sr. Marguerite concludes her wonderful book, Nuns without Cloister (English, 2010) with this open invitation to revisit our understanding of The Little Design as compared to the founder’s original inspiration. “Vacher’s methodology, comparing the congregation’s theoretical, prescriptive documents with evidence about the actual life of these communities in southern France, leads to the question of whether and to what degree succeeding generations grasped the original inspiration.” (Back cover of book)

In the time since Vatican II, it has become possible to rediscover and reconstitute the complete heritage of Father Medaille. Over the centuries, external conditions, especially in psycho-sociolog ical and juridical realms, limited the full realization of his insight. Changes now experienced on multiple levels – not least in historical understanding – have put all the cards back in our hands. For Sisters of St. Joseph, this provides the prospect of discovering, through the life lived by women of their own time, genuine forms of fidelity to their vocation.” (p. 319)
#2 virginia 2012-11-12 14:09
Even though I am a consecrated religious, I have experienced the same as you, arletteh,and find the Little Design what is needed in my life more than ever. As I am in the aging process ( now 76), I want the rest of my life to be full, with energy to do what yet I am called to do and to finish the race and win the prize of Christ Jesus! I, too, was enlivened by rosemary's online course that really brought to light with substance, Fr. Medialle's spirituality as an SSJ. It is meant for today when we are all experiencing a cultural shift! This will focus us solely on our dear Lord and our dear neighbor, in the spirit of the evangelical counsels.
#1 arletteh 2012-11-11 11:56
Experienced it !Oh Yes, so life-giving, the opening up of "religious life" to ALL .What a bursting forth of joy,as our "imprisoned" lay hearts found the new Spirit of inclusiveness that culminated in Vatican II,freed the Spirit in the charismatic movement,develo ped contemplative movements!And again, for me particularly,he ard the invitation on Medaille online course to the "little " way of the Little Design. And yes, the counsels are AN INVITATION to the channeling of our "enrgies", all of them, to bringing a Spirited way of life to all we meet ,so that we can live the Gospel in a life-giving way.

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