Madeleine Delbrel (1904-1964) was a gifted philosopher who founded a small religious community in France dedicated to social work. She studied philosophy and art at the Sorbonne in Paris. When her fiancé decided to join the Dominicans and her father went blind, Delbrel's life fell apart.

She converted to Christianity in 1924. Her spiritual life consisted of serving others. During her life she circulated a collection of aphorisms called The Little Monk among her friends. After she died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage, the book was published to great acclaim.

This English version contains comments from the Little Monk, a fictional character, along with light line drawings of him. Reading these aphorisms it becomes clear that Delbrel appreciated the little virtues of humility, silence and kindness. She also knew that joy is the secret of Christians who travel lightly on the earth and have a lively sense of humor. Here are some samples from the wisdom of the Little Monk:

  • Don't be a hero — be a zero.

  • Beware of how you judge those who do not appreciate you.

  • Your silence may serve others better than the sound of your own words.

  • Do not make your nerves the barometer of your house.

  • When you finally discover that you are just one of the little people, don't conclude that this makes you special.