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Religious Order for Women With Down Syndrome

BY Danielle Bean

| Posted 3/24/10 at 9:00 AM

 

(Video clip taken from a French documentary about this extraordinary group)

I was touched when I recently read the story about Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb, a contemplative order made up of women with Down syndrome. The French community was founded in 1985, canonically recognized as a public association by the Archbishop of Tours in 1990.

“Guided by the wisdom of St Benedict, we teach our little disabled sisters the manual labour necessary for their development. We live poverty in putting ourselves at their disposal. With them, we share the work of everyday life.

The office, adoration and the praying of the rosary are adapted to their rhythm and their capacities. In a spirit of silence, our prayer feeds every day on the Eucharist and on the meditation of the Gospel.”

Only through the generosity and support of sisters without Down syndrome are those with the disability able to realize their potential for religious vocations:

“Guided by the wisdom of St Benedict, we teach our little disabled sisters the manual labour necessary for their development. We live poverty in putting ourselves at their disposal. With them, we share the work of everyday life.

The office, adoration and the praying of the rosary are adapted to their rhythm and their capacities. In a spirit of silence, our prayer feeds every day on the Eucharist and on the meditation of the Gospel.”

And it’s no surprise the sisters find inspiration in St. Therese of Lisieux’s “Little Way.”

“We follow every day the ‘little way’ taught by Saint Therese; knowing that ‘great actions are forbidden to us’, we learn from her to receive everything from God, to ‘love for the brothers who fight’, to ‘scatter flowers for Jesus’, and to pray for the intentions entrusted to us.”

The news about women’s religious orders in the U.S. has been somewhat less than inspirational recently—what with some groups of religious sisters doing all they could to ensure that our tax dollars would be used to make “life-affirming” abortion as widely and readily available as possible.

And so it is that this little story of a small community of sisters, doing hidden work while tucked away in France, warms my heart and feeds my soul today. God bless the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb.

And thank you, God, for small condolences and reminders of Your grace.