By: Sr. Joan Roccaslavo

An image of Fr. Jean-Pierre MédailleWe have received some wonderful news concerning Father Jean-Pierre Médaille. This morning, I received word from Father François Boëdec, S.J., Provincial of the Society of Jesus of Western Europe. He has written to Father Pascual Cebollada, S.J., the Postulator for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization in Rome giving him the 'green light' to advance Father Médaille's cause. Thanks to Sister Marta Pesce, C.S.J. (Italian Federation) and others, the preliminary preparations have already been completed.       

On this December 30, we commemorate the 350th anniversary of Father Médaille's death in Billom, France. We all know that Father Médaille preferred a hidden apostolate to a prominent one. But his light could not remain hidden under a bushel basket. Today, approximately 7,900 Sisters of St. Joseph and 5,642 Associates work in forty-six countries where we participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church.

For the first six Sisters of Saint Joseph and for Father Médaille, there was nothing simple or easy about their beginnings. In the 17th century, their dream to conduct apostolic work outside the cloister was an impossibility given the existing canons for consecrated women. Nonetheless, they forged ahead to make their dream a reality. 

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California leadership team planting a tree in honor of Fr. Medaille.In histories written about the Society of Jesus, the Sisters of Saint Joseph are mentioned among the first religious institutes of women to use the rule of Saint Ignatius as their inspiration. Jesuits who have worked with us have summed up their observations: 'We share in the same charism. Your Maxims and your entire spirit emerge from the Spiritual Exercises.'        

As December 30 approaches, let us rejoice as one Médaille family whose corporate personality expresses itself in humility and the most cordial charity.  

U.S. Federation Note: To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the death of Fr. Medaille, Sisters of St. Joseph from around the world are planting trees in his honor.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield had this to say about the planting of their tree:

"We plant this tree today along with Sisters of St. Joseph throughout the North American continent as we recall the 350th anniversary of John Pierre Medaille's death.  We plant it in hope. We cannot survive in a world that holds nothing but despair.

Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Massachusetts planting a tree for Fr. Medaille in November 2019.I think that's one of the reasons why the Creator made trees. God is telling us to look at the present, but also to look ahead to the future, a future that we might not see, but which is full of hope. God is saying to us, 'Plant now. Sow the seeds of hope in your own little world. Sow those seeds and one day they will grow strong and beautiful. Plant a tree of hope and nothing in this world will ever destroy you. Make your life a garden in which others will come to rest and find hope.' God gave us trees as a sign of hope, this hope, God's love for each one of us.

Lord, let us plant a tree of hope in our hearts today. Help us to make our lives a garden. Let us fill our world with promises of love and peace. Let us plant the flowers of goodness, gentleness and kindness. Let us sow the seeds of joy. Help us, Lord, to plant a tree of hope in the heart of everyone we meet today. And may this tree speak of our care for all of creation to all who pass by."

If you would like to join in by planting a tree in your congregation, your community or in your area, you can email a picture of your tree to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are sending all photos to the Italian Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph who will be taking the photos and making a collage.

[Sr. Joan Roccasalvo is a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood. View Sr. Joan's 'Discernment of Spirits' presentation she gave for the Federation here.]