In September 2017, we celebrated 20 years of Little Design Communities in Ottawa. 

In Ottawa and area there are now 66 Little Designers in 13 different small communities. 

In Wales, the Sisters of St. Joseph under Sr. Monica Hartnett's direction have studied for 2 years

the Little Design way of life and especailly, in-depth, The Eucharstic Letter.

Some Sister animators will soon be available to offer assistance to small groups getting started.

 In Ontario, we now have four Sister animators who can be called upon to assist you with starting your own Little Design community. 

Sister Rosemary O'Toole CSJ (Ottawa)

Sister Margaret Keller CSJ (London, ON)

Sister Maureen Shearon CSJ (London, ON)

Sister Kathleen O'Keefe, CSJ (London, ON) 



If you are looking for a unique contemplative experience with a small community, consider

joining us for our 4th "Little Design Communities Rebirthing" program.

August 12-27, 2015    - Travelling out of Ottawa to Lyon and then on to Le Puy.

Program Dates at the International Centre St. Joseph are Sunday, August 16 -26, 2015.

Cost:  750-850 Euros for the 10 day program.

Contact Sr. Rosemary O'Toole for more information:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 AUGUST 13, 2014      OFF TO LE PUY, FRANCE soon...

With a grateful heart, I am preparing the final touches on materials for our next session on Little Design Communities Rebirthing to be held at Centre International St. Joseph. We fly out next Wednesday for Lyon and then travel down to Le Puy in south-central France.
What a blessing that 6 women from Ottawa and the area will be travelling with me ... We hope that you will follow us at the Chat Forum where we will post pictures and stories daily. We hope that you might share your thoughts and connect with us by simply using the  LOGIN ... and write and submit a comment.
                                    CLICK HERE   to read the daily postings
Blessings, Rosemary
If you are interested, you can click here to read an article on The Eucharistic Letter Revisited that Sr. Rosemary O'Toole wrote.
I have created a combined reading - click here -  Part 1 and 2 of newsletter articles

NOVEMBER 25, 2013        LE PUY IN 2014 ...
There is going to be another session of The Little Design Communities Rebirthing held in Le Puy from August 24- September 3. Stay tuned here as more information is posted at The Centre International in Le Puy.
I look forward to more conversations on how this vision is being lived in our 21st Century. Delighted to read today online about Pope Francis's writing  "I HAVE A DREAM' encylical. Wouldn't that be an awesome ADVENT project for each of us to write our "I HAVE A DREAM" speech. 
Anyone can share these stories at the Chat Forum ... just login ... and begin your posting!
Blessings to all our Little Communities remaining faithful and sharing the journey!

 JULY 29, 2013     WATCH OUR MOVIE
We 12 pilgrims from Ottawa are back from Le Puy and have shared a wonderful experience that we will remember for a lifetime. Hopefully, you will take some time to stop by and read some of our daily postings on the CHAT FORUM.
Click here to watch a MOVIE of our Little Design Communities Rebirthing experience in Le Puy, France at the Centre International St. Joseph: It's 50 minutes and is a compilation of several pilgrim's photos. Turn on your sound and enjoy the journey.
MAY 29, 2013   - OFF TO LE PUY TODAY
holy spirit prayer
i hope that you will unite with us in prayer - and companionship online. I will leave some personal notes on the daily CHAT FORUM about our day's events.
I have some YouTube videos and pictures already posted on the forum to give you an idea of what we will be seeing and experiencing each day.
Spirit guide our inner journeys as well as our outer journeys... pilgims travelling from 5 different countries to spend time together in le Puy.
                                                              Blessings, Rosemary 

DANIELLEThank you, Danielle Latreille! What a magnificent accomplishment to have the complete binder of materials translated now into French. It was one year ago Pentecost that we completed the ENGLISH text and had them prepared in binder formats... allowing for ongoing additions of prayer servcies  etc. What a cause for celebrartion this Pentecost to see the work ... ready now for another culture and language ... to read and reflect on this Little Design vision. We hope to hear of others around the world  starting up these small faith communities ... under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you Danielle for your year long labour of love... And we are delighted that YOU are among the participants in the First session in Le Puy this June. You will see your work being read and understood by two Sisters who need the French language manual to follow along with our days interaction and study.
Go to the FREE DOWNLOADS section of this website - to either download and print at home ... or request to purchase a binder in French from Sr. Rosemary.
Evelyn and Rosemary and all the Little Design community

Art Journalist2
Grace Amirault and her sister, Debbie Camelin guided us through a most enjoyable Art Journaling workshop today. We learned techniques for preparing the pages of our journal and ... soon the colours and stickers and ideas started to explode ... and our hearts were merry ... as we shared this experience and our dreams for these special days in Le Puy. Three of the ladies - who are not travelling with us to Le Puy - created personal journals that look very inviting to record special moments.  
  Thank you Debbie and Grace for sharing your time, talent, creativity and many art materials.   

Bear the Beams of Love - from Mary SouthardThe spirit and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph is integral to the life of an associate of this highly esteemed order whose charism we share. This gift of the Spirit informs us of our Oneness with all of God’s creation setting our hearts aflame with a call to inclusive, active love that draws us ever deeper into relationship with the Divine.


On Saturday, February 23, 2013 about forty associates and sisters gathered at the St. Joseph Motherhouse with Rosemary O’Toole csj from the Upper Room Home of Prayer in Ottawa. In her generous response to an invitation to facilitate the process of deepening our spiritual practice of sharing “The State of Our Hearts”, Rosemary made it a day of abundant grace for all of us.

This way of deep listening, referred to as ‘the manifestation of the heart’, based on the writings of Fr. Jean-Pierre Medaille SJ, is an ongoing spiritual practice for the sisters and through our shared experiences for the associates. It has been handed down as an intentional way of living and recognizing the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In our monthly small associate circle meetings we follow this spiritual practice by listening to each other’s stories, receiving them and holding them with respect, love and compassion.

Through sharing our hearts we grow deeper in relationship with ourselves, others, God and all of creation, expanding in consciousness of the Holy Spirit moving us ever towards ‘the more’. Rosemary suggests that this practice of sharing hearts, where we recognize a human struggle that we are experiencing and its opposing strength, is like a two-step dance movement where we learn to balance our Medaillian spirituality of ‘self-emptying’ with being ‘filled with God.’


The love we share, as Rosemary reminded us, is ‘Love energy’ already within us and at the heart of the cosmos as the Source of unity and creativity that keeps us connected, awakened and transforms us and our world. In this way of being in relationship we open up to the ‘mystical energy’ that makes possible relating from our hearts with ‘the great love of God that will start to make all things new within us, around us and beyond us’.


From the moment of gathering prayer, a passage from Judy Cannato’s Field of Compassion and a Lectio Divina, from Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, this ‘Love energy’ filled our sacred space and our hearts with a desire to know the practice of sharing hearts more deeply, that we may be more present, attentive and patient in our sharing. We gathered around a huge circular table adorned with a beautiful white tablecloth and a large pillar candle at the centre, the light of Christ, and surrounded by our small individual lights reminding us that we are ‘Beams of Love’ as depicted in the Mary Southard csj print of the same name, and prominently displayed for our contemplation throughout the day. Rosemary led us in a stirring ritual using a ball of golden coloured yarn, passing it around the circle, weaving it around our hands making us ‘one’ while all voices joined in chanting Ubi Caritas. In conclusion each of us received the small piece of the yarn we were holding to wrap around our wrists or fingers as a visual reminder of how God weaves ‘lavish grace’ into our lives and how all life is interconnected through God’s great love.


Our time with Rosemary unfolded in reflection, contemplation, prayer, affirmations, song, questions interspersed with teachings, time for deep listening in our small circles and casual conversation over breaking bread. As the day progressed we grew in understanding of what sharing the heart can become. We grew in awareness that this practice is always initiated by the Divine. We quietly moved into the safe space within our small groups, sharing what we had learned aboutease and candour, gentleness and loving speech, being mindful of ourselves and others’, knowing that as we listen deeply to each other’s stories we grow and become whole.


Rosemary’s teaching and the wisdom of the large circle established the foundation for the deep intimate sharing within our small groups. In these sacred spaces, where deep listening is done with empathy and non-judgement, we took time to pray and contemplate, becoming aware of the Holy Spirit at work within us and the group, enabling us to express our interior struggles and graced moments. We learned that a springboard to discerning the process can begin with a word (darkness /faith) that expresses a core spiritual experience to help us tell our story of a struggle in some vulnerable area or gratitude for growth in grace. We learned that by opening ever more to the process we will be emptied of the wounded self and receive the grace of being filled with God’s great love.


At the end of the day we took our leave with immense gratitude for Rosemary’s generous ministry, fervor, creativity and joyful presence. She has inspired us and equipped us with resources to enhance and deepen our practice of relating from our hearts. She has renewed in us an appreciation for our spiritual practice of sharing “The State of Our Hearts” which we will eagerly take to our small monthly associate gatherings.


This day our lives have been endowed with peace, love, joy, unity and wisdom knowing that God “is filling us with Great Love, making us able to bear the Beams of Love and able to radiate that compassion to others.”     


Submitted by the Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, Pembroke neighbourhood.


(Adapted in part from Sharing of Hearts by Rosemary O’Toole csj)    


                     Art: Beams of Love, Mary Southard csj  

 FEBRUARY 23, 2013      



Some 40 women gathered on Saturday, February 23 at the Pembroke motherhouse for a workshop on SHARING OF HEARTS with Sr. Rosemary O'Toole.




Click here to watch a little video of our day together!   IMG 0001









 We sat in large open circle around the ritual table ... votives burning and the

 Light of Christ  being the unity we all share. 
  PEM 5
Rosemary introduced the new
and the women paused in prayer
to listen to their heart and NAME the sacred word
that resonated there. Deep sharing of hearts
followed at the seven small tables
of associate communities.

 medaille mesdames
 Diane, Rosemary, Evelyn, Marian
Since, this week at Lesson 31 - we were invited to share a little about our Little Design community, I asked our ladies, if they would be willing to share a photo of us at Marian's home where we gathered on Wednesday afternoon for our sharing of hearts. Since, we are among the founding members of Little Design communities here in Ottawa, we affectionately, call ourselves, "the Medaille Mesdames".
Yesterday, we told stories of our beginnings at the convent on Primrose Avenue. We spoke about those potent images and words spoken at a Visioning Day before we even realized the Spirit was 'forming' us into a community. We shared memories of our friends, Pam and Agnes, who died with such grace and wisdom and dignity. 
Inspired and edified by a new book written by Agnes' husband, 'Notes to my Grandchildren by Papa'  we challenged each other to write a few pages each on ONE Life Lesson that we could pass on to our Community as a legacy - gleaned from our years of prayer, reflection, reading and lived experience.
Stay tuned ... as we may be extending this invitation - to ALL our online readers and participants.
What a wonderful ONLINE WISDOM CIRCLE we could gather up!
P.S.   If any of you wish to email me your group's picture, I will post it here under the What's New for all to     
         read.    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What a wonderful week of growing friendship and collaboration! Sr. Claudette des Forges and I first met on SKYPE last year when I was invited to come to the Centre International in Le Puy and offer a couple summer sessions on The Little Design Communities Circling the World with Love. Over the past year we coordinated our dreams and plans and Claudette was always so helpful and encouraging and eager to make this contemplative experience in Le Puy BE all that it could be for the participants.
During the week, while I went on with my regular ministry commitments, Claudette prayed and read and walked around the neighbourhood, enjoying the sights and sounds of winter in Canada. Then, in late afternoon, our kitchen table became the planning room for final logistics and co-ordination of the Le Puy sessions. It was an invaluable resource to have Claudette's first-hand and recent experience with the old city and the sacred sites... and so both of us with laptops ...  went searching out websites and confirming important contacts.
We shared a movie afternoon at Les Miserables, enjoyed a supper with our chaplain, Fr. Andrew followed by Eucharist in our home with Chico, Diane and Coleen joining our little community. On Wednesday, we did a little touring and exploration around the downtown heart of the city of Ottawa - along the River, visiting the beautiful cathedral, the Parliament buildings, Art Gallery and eating lunch in the market square at La Provence. (where Obama cookies are sold) .
You can tell how 'at-home' we became with each other, when on the last evening, Claudette offered to cook supper for us...  and yes, we obliged and enjoyed!
Rosemary and Evelyn      
It was such a lovely bright winter morning when Claudette and I dropped in for a visit to Lloyd and Danielle Latreille's home in Ottawa South. Their warm smiles and welcoming hearts were soon matched by a delicious snack of fresh blueberry muffins and coffee.

Danielle Latreille spent about 6-7 months working on the translation into French of the white binder - 100 pages - the text of The Little Design Communities Rebirthing - which includes four sections: 
The History and Vision
The Eucharistic Letter Revisited 
The 8 Communal Gatherings
The Sharing of the Heart
And now it's done... and in the hands of her sister-in-law who is doing a second editing and proof-reading. We will be able to post it on our LITTLE DESIGN COMMUNITIES website within a few months. 
Lloyd and Danielle Latreille are members of a Little Design couples community here in Ottawa. Four couples have been meeting monthly in each other's homes for a couple years now.
They follow the white binder Gatherings ... and allow the sharing and conversations to flow in the Spirit. They tell me today that they often only cover one or two paragraphs of the LETTER ... but that the sharing of hearts is growing and deepening ... and yes, they often stay for a supper or BBQ... 
I am so happy for all of them as this is truly a 'were not our hearts burning' experience of community. 
Thank you for the muffins sent home for Evelyn too! 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 2013  
                         - Meet and Greet Sister Claudette des Forges
DSC04039On Sunday afternoon, some 14 Little Designers from the Ottawa communities gathered in the living room with Sister Claudette, a sister of St. Joseph of Orange, California who has just completed her term as a staff member at the International Centre in Le Puy.
Claudette and I have had several heart-warming conversations on SKYPE throughout the year and she has been so welcoming and supportive of my preparations for the Little Design Communities Rebirthing sessions upcoming this June. I wanted our 8 pilgrims and the community to meet her in person.
     (L-R  Cathy, Claudette, Marie, Mary)
Sr. Claudette shared with us a slideshow of the International Centre in Le Puy and the women asked questions and got some first-hand experience of how to prepare for their journey this June. I have added several suggestions Sr. Claudette gave us on our CHAT FORUM... so please revisit for updates under separate categories now. 
Of course, there was a little French feast of pastries, chocolate and glazed pears and a cup of tea...  as the conversations and stories and enthusiasm grew.
Thank you, dear friends and Sr. Claudette for a most enjoyable afternoon.
"Pilgrimage begins in the heart and ends in the heart '... and so we remain mindful of ALL that moves and grows and becomes more over these next days and weeks leading up to Le Puy.
One line from the slideshow seemed to speak to many of us... for we know that those afternoon guided walks around the old city and into sacred spaces will lead us to inner places that beckon us also...      
"It is solved by walking."
                   ( L-R  Michele, Eleanor, Marjorie, Diane )                                                                                                     

cherry picking 2  Download the brochure here    ... In June 2012, Rudy Camelin and his wife, Debbie, and her sister Grace Amirault set out on a personal pilgrimage to visit sacred sites in England and France.
Among the places they wanted to see was the charming city of Le Puy. I gave them the contact numbers for the International Center of the Sisters of St. Joseph and thanks to their hospitality and welcome, they were able to work in a visit to the original kitchen. The archives where the Eucharistic Letter is stored were unavailable due to the renovations going on presently.
A staff member took this picture of them picking cherries in their back yard before they headed off  with containers of fresh fruit for their snacks.
NOTE:    Rudy Camelin is the board administrator and creator of the MEDAILLE ONLINE FORUM that many of you followed a few years ago. He taught me the administration of the website so I was able to upload the weekly lessons and keep it refreshed.  This photo was featured in the newsletter of the International Centre in their July 2012 issue. 
Claudette 2It was a lovely Sunday afternoon for us to gather once again with our friends in Little Design and welcome Sr. Claudette to our  UPPER ROOM HOME community at Centerpointe.
We enjoyed her slideshow of the International Centre and Le Puy and revisited places in our memories.  There are so many wonderful things to see and do in this charming little French city.
It was a joy for us to show her the photo storybook we had published with
highlights of our pilgrimage to Sacred Places in England and France.
A wonderfully graced experience awaits all who attend this summer's sessions on The Little Design Communities Rebirthing.    Love, Debbie and Grace 

The Little Design Communities  
- the white binder in French is coming -
We are so very pleased to announce that our Danielle Latreille has already completed 70 pages of translation of the white Little Design Communities binder into French. (Binder is 100 pages)
If all goes well, we trust that it will be ready to bring to Le Puy, France for the June 2013 Little Design Communities Rebirthing experience.
When completed, we will also post it online here at our website so anyone can download it for free. Cost to purchase a French Binder will be $25.00.
Thank you, Danielle, for giving us this wonderful material in a second language so many others around the world can participate in these small faith communities.
Danielle in her home office ... 'Your zeal will always be in proportion to the love of God you have in your heart.
                                             If it springs from a great love, then it will be great." M.P. 11:1 

This is our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend! Families and friends will be visiting our homes and our dining room tables will be arranged with a festive and tasty abundance from this year's harvest.M
May our homes and hearts give thanks for God's faithfulness.
"If the only prayer you say in your whole life is thank you,
that would suffice."
                                                                      -Meister Eckhart
Blessings, Rosemary and Evelyn

blkwhitemedailleaToday, we begin our weekly reflections and comments on the individual paragraphs of The Eucharistic Letter. It has been about 6 weeks now since we launched the new website and already we have 225 registered users who have created an account. You will need to LOGIN if you want to make a comment either on:
2.  THE EUCHARISTIC LETTER REVISITED ... weekly new input posted.
Why not visit these sections now and see what others are saying ... and please, feel free to add your own topic for conversation or continue the dialogue on the questions posted already.
Can you imagine what Jean-Pierre is thinking of all this?

august 2012 040 number 3What a delight! Today at the Upper Room, we welcomed visitors from Watertown, New York - Sr. Bethany and Sr Kathleen. Shortly after we launched our new website, we got an email inquiring if some of the Sisters from Watertown could come for a visit and hear about the Little Design story 'live' from Evelyn and myself.
We set the date for today and all was in readiness! Bethany and Kathleen arrived late morning and we enjoyed animated conversation before, during and after lunch. 
Once again, the kitchen became the nurturing place for sharing hearts and stories of our readiness for this new way of sharing our charism with the companions who gather around us. Evelyn and I were very encouraged when we listened to the resonance and joy that overflowed... and we celebrated Spirit ... bringing forth new life.
They went home with 4 of the new binders and extra 'sharing of hearts' cards... and ... we await what comes to pass as they share this Eucharistic Letter Revisited with their sisters and associates. We plan to stay in touch.    
WATERTOWn use 3 august 2012 035 number 2
Thanks for coming and sharing your questions, your hopes, your understandings... your beautiful selves!
Evelyn and Rosemary             
SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2012

mini beamsToday, our new LDC website is launched on the w.w.w.  We would like to honour 'this communion space' that we will share over the years with engaging dialogue and inspiring and insightful reflection. After you have spent some time exploring around the new website, we hope that you might want to give some thought to starting your own small group of spiritual companions. 

In time, we hope that you will come back to the website and add your comments under The Eucharistic Letter Revisited section. (This interactive section does not start until September 1, 2012 so as to give everyone time to form their own small community.)  We welcome reading your posts - on any related topic - under the Chat Forum. 

Yes, today, we have begun to move in the Spirit and reach out with a more intentional mission of 'Circling the world with Love' using the internet as our COMMUNAL gathering place. Will you add your voice and your action and your heart to this simple, yet profound movement of Spirit... praying that we may all be one?

Rosemary O'Toole,csj  
* I want to express my deep gratitude to Rudy Camelin, our expert web master, who worked with us in the creation and design of this beautiful website. He was our forum administrator for the Medaille Online Course which began in 2008.