The Man  

Jean-Pierre Medaille was born in Carcassonne, France in 1610. At a young age he joined the Jesuit Order and was considered to be "gifted with a sublime knowledge of the interior life." While he was working as a missionary - preaching retreats and renewals around the parishes in southwestern France  - he began meeting with many devout women who expressed their desire to live holy lives and serve their neighbours in charitable service without becoming cloistered nuns.

It was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he founded the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1650 in Le Puy, France. Bishop deMaupas granted the new congregation canonical status - one of the first apostolic religious life forms to emerge in the 17th Century.

From a small beginning of just six women, this spiritual movement has grown through its 360+ year history to become a global congregation of almost 14,000 Sisters. Many associates, Little Designers and colleagues share in this magnificent charism and are still active today circling the world - in some 55 countries - spreading LOVE in their local communities and neighbourhoods. God is the Source of all unifying and reconciling love. One of our favourite daily mantras:  

                                                             "Love LOVE and let LOVE love through you...

"There are 13,769 Sisters of St. Joseph from 34 different Congregations working in 55 countries around the world."

(The International Centre in Le Puy, August, 2008)

 


 

A Unique Prophetic Community Vision

As early as 1646, Jean-Pierre encouraged some devout women to gather together into several communities, meeting 'secretly' in small groups of 3-6 women so as to protect their spirit of littleness, hiddenness and self-emptying love. Quietly, they  set to work with zeal to live lives of prayer and active service to the most needy in their midst.

He wrote an inspired text which he called The Eucharistic Letter (dated 1660) in which he speaks of "perhaps in time, there will be a congregation without being a congregation, a religious order, without being a religious order..." In the Letter he calls their way of life "The Little Design" and encouraged these small groupings of women to follow his spiritual maxims. Fr. Medaille is the beloved founder for all congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph.    

The Eucharistic Letter is a treasured spiritual legacy. Its prophetic inspiration still challenges us today! Today, many Christians are seeking a way of life centered in Christ and the Gospels, supported by faith-filled companions who share the same desire of becoming great lovers of God. His mystical vision of being a "congregation of great lovers of God" living outside the cloister, has animated and inspired the spirituality and ministry of our Upper Room Home of Prayer throughout the years.

If you haven't already participated in this Medaille Spirituality series, you might want to consider joining us this year - for MEDAILLE ONLINE COURSE. A unique opportunity. 52 lessons archived. Join in the global "sharing of hearts" on the Medaille Online Forum.