Tag Archives: St Jeanne Jugan

The arrogant and the humble: Kathleen Sibelius and a Little Sister of the Poor

Last night on EWTN’s program, “The World Over,” two Little Sisters of the Poor and their lawyer were in the studio for an interview with Raymond Arroyo.

As it turns out, in the green room of the studios Kathleen Sibelius was likewise in studio for an interview with another show. What irony! It was a cordial chanced meeting. AND, Sibelius is familiar with the LSP since her days growing up in Cincinnati.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are in danger of closing their ministry with the implementation of the HHS mandate. With the help of a Becket Fund attorney, Mark Reinzi, the Little Sisters are suing the government in a class action suit. Several hundred other Catholic ministries are at risk.

The government offends conscience and religious freedom.

Sister Constance Veit and Provincial Sister  Loraine Marie Maguire are standing up for all of us Catholics. This lawsuit is a justice issue.

The Little Sisters of the Poor were founded 174 years ago by Saint Jean Jugan. They have a vow of hospitality. The care offered is specialized for those at the end of life.

The LSP run homes for the poor elderly in 31 countries caring for 13,000 people; there are 30 homes in the USA with 2500 residents. In the USA, we have 300 LSP. What’s at stake? Financially the penalties $100 a day fine and $2 million a year per home. Half the budget is covered by raising money.

Saint Jeanne Jugan

St Jeanne Jugan life icon.jpg

Today’s feast is probably of a little known saint, Saint Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879). Her’s a remarable life of grace and heroic virtue. 

“…Jeanne Jugan was concerned with the dignity of her brothers and sisters in humanity whom age had made more vulnerable, recognizing in them the Person of Christ himself. “Look upon the poor with compassion,” she would say, “and Jesus will look kindly upon you on your last day.” Jeanne Jugan focused upon the elderly a compassionate gaze drawn from her profound communion with God in her joyful, disinterested service, which she carried out with gentleness and humility of heart, desiring herself to be poor among the poor. Jeanne lived the mystery of love, peacefully accepting obscurity and self-emptying until her death. Her charism is ever timely while so many elderly people are suffering from numerous forms of poverty and solitude and are sometimes also abandoned by their families. In the Beatitudes Jeanne Jugan found the source of the spirit of hospitality and fraternal love, founded on unlimited trust in Providence, which illuminated her whole life. This evangelical dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest. May Saint Jeanne Jugan be for elderly people a living source of hope and for those who generously commit themselves to serving them, a powerful incentive to pursue and develop her work!

Pope Benedict XVI

Canonization homily

11 October 2009

A feast day slide show done by the Little Sisters of the Poor. You can read more about Saint Jeanne Jugan here.

Blessed Jeanne Jugan

Today is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross), a relatively unknown sister here in the USA unless you you’ve met them begging for money to sustain their life and work. She is soon to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th.

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The congregation of sisters founded by Blessed Jeanne, The Little Sisters of the Poor, are an exceptional group of women who dedicated themselves to doing small things for the poor for the sake of the Gospel: be humble, i.e., be little in order to be close to the humble and making the poor happy is everything. It was the spirituality of Saint John the Baptist: I must decrease and He must increase. Jugan was very much influenced by Saint John Eudes because in him she saw a path that corresponded to her heart: we must be other Christs on earth and to go to Jesus through Mary. Jugan called together women to serve poor elderly women, a work of charity that Jeanne had done for her own conversion since she was a young woman. Not only did Jeanne address the physical needs of the women she served, but she also attended to the spiritual ones too. The Little Sisters take a 4th vow of being hospitable: showing mercy to our poor brothers and sisters.
Here in Connecticut the Little Sisters of the Poor are located in Enfield but there was a time that they had a house in New Haven. Sadly, the New Haven community closed when the health care politics got to be too much for the sisters to handle.
When I am visiting the local Catholic cemetery I make it a point to visit the graves of the Little Sisters who died in New Haven. For me it is a way being grateful for the work and witness of the sisters in New Haven.
Watch the video clip of a recent first vows profession ceremony…
Among the recent books about Blessed Jeanne are:

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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