Monday March 29, 2010

French Religious Community Welcomes Girls with Down Syndrome

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

LE BLANC, France, March 29, 2010 ( – The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb are a contemplative religious community in France that enables girls with Down syndrome to respond to a religious vocation.

The tiny community, founded in 1985 and based in Le Blanc, in the diocese of Bourges, is made up of seven sisters, five of whom have Down syndrome.

In a world where up to 90 percent of Down syndrome children are aborted, the Prioress of the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb says the order exists, “To allow those who have the ‘last place’ in the world, to hold in the Church the exceptional place of spouses of Jesus Christ. To allow those who depend on others for their everyday life to take in charge, in their prayer, the intentions that are entrusted to them. To allow those whose life is held in contempt to the extent of being in danger from a culture of death, to witness by their consecration to the Gospel of Life.”

The possibility of young women with Down syndrome being enabled to realize their religious vocation depends on the support of sisters without the disability, who have responded to a call to consecrate themselves to God with their disabled sisters and to form one community with them.

A leaflet produced by the community describes the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb as an order “Guided by the wisdom of St Benedict,” and “following every day the ‘little way’ taught by Saint Therese” that “teaches 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.”

“Today, more girls with Down Syndrome are knocking at our door. To respond to their request, our family needs new vocations. Vocations to share a contemplative life with ‘the smallest in the Kingdom’.”

The order’s vocation leaflet encourages “young girls touched by the spirit of poverty and dedication, ready to offer a whole existence to the service of Christ in the person of their sisters with Down Syndrome,” to visit the priory, which is close to the abbey of Fontgombault, for a period of vocational discernment.

A short YouTube clip taken from a 26-minute documentary on the community, produced by the French pro-life group Exaltavit, is available here.

Information on the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb is available from the Foundation of Monasteries, 83 rue Dutot, 75015 Paris, France.