"Go and find him when your patience and strength run out and you feel alone and helpless. Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel. Say to him, ‘Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I have, and you know all things. Come to my help.’ And then go, and don’t worry about how you are going to manage. That you have told God about it is enough. He has a good memory."
Saint Jeanne Jugan (1792-1842), known as Sister Mary of the Cross, and foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Saint Jeanne devoted herself to caring for the less fortunate, specifically the elderly and forgotten. While she experienced significant disappointments and difficulties in her life, Saint Jeanne modeled humility and joy in service, not in worldly recognition or acclaim. In his homily at her beatification, Pope John Paul II praised "the quiet but eloquent radiance of her life." He stated, "In our day, pride, the pursuit of efficacy, the temptation to use power all run rampant in the world, and sometimes, unfortunately, even in the Church. They become an obstacle to the coming of the Kingdom of God. This is why the spirituality of Jeanne Jugan can attract the followers of Christ and fill their hearts with simplicity and humility, with hope and evangelical joy, having their source in God and in self-forgetfulness."
"God wants me for himself. He is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded."
Saint John Eudes. In her contemplation and prayer, Jeanne sought only to serve the Lord, becoming more like Jesus through imitation and intercession of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. She sought out the most destitute, weak, and sick, giving what little she had to their care.
When Jeanne was 47, her life was to be influenced in a profound manner by an unexpected visitor to her home. On a bitterly cold winter’s evening, she opened her door to a blind and semi-paralyzed elderly woman who had been left alone. Jeanne opened her heart to his poor woman, giving up her own bed. Soon, word spread, and a second elderly woman followed, and then more after her. By 1943, over forty were being cared for by Jeanne and her three young companions. Jeanne acted as superior of the developing religious order, offering guidance and structure to those who wished to assist her in her work.
"O Mary, my dear Mother, come to me. You know I love you and how I long to see You!" Few of her sisters knew that she was the foundress of the Order, but all recognized her gentle spirit and great influence on the charity and work of all she came in contact with. It was not until 23 years after her death that she was revealed as the founders of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Her tomb, in the crypt of the chapel of the Motherhouse, in La Tour St. Joseph (Saint Pern), attracts many pilgrims, as do her birthplace in the hamlet of Les Petites Croix, in Cancale, and the foundation’s house in Saint Servan where she labored for many years.
On July 13, 1979, the Church officially acknowledged the heroic nature of Jeanne Jugan’s virtues. Her example continues to inspire the Little Sisters of the Poor today as they continue her work of humble service to the poor.
“Refuse God nothing … We must do all through love.”
“Do not call me Jeanne Jugan. All that is left of her is Sister Mary of the Cross, unworthy though she is of that lovely name.”
“What happiness for us, to be a Little Sister of the Poor!”
“When you grow old, you will no longer see anything…. As for me, I no longer see anything but God!”
“Give, give us the house. If God fills it, he will not abandon it.”
“God has blessed me because I have always greatly thanked his Providence.”
“It is a great grace that God has given you in calling you to serve the poor.”
“If God is with us, it will be accomplished.”
“Little, very little, be very little before God… hidden by humility in all God wants from you, as being only the instruments of his work.”
“Let us sing the glory of our risen Jesus.”
“My good Jesus, I have only you.”
“Remain little, hidden by humility in all God wants from you, as being only the instruments of his work.”
“We must know how to efface ourselves by humility in all that God asks of us.”
“When you will be near the poor, give yourself wholeheartedly.”
“Making the elderly happy – that is what counts!”
“In our troubles, we must always say, "Blessed be God, thank you my God, or glory to God!"
“If you keep the spirit of humility and simplicity, never seeking the world’s esteem, then God will be glorified and you will obtain the conversion of souls.”
“It is so good to be poor, to have nothing, to depend on God for everything.”
“We were grafted into the Cross.”
“Refuse God nothing. Accustom yourselves to do everything for him ... Let us love him very much, that is all that is necessary.”
“God will help us; the work is his.”
“He is so good ... love God very much. All for him, do everything through love.”
“Love God very much, so that you can look after the aged well, for it is Jesus whom you care for in them.”
“My little ones, never forget that the poor are Our Lord; in caring for the poor say to yourself: This is for my Jesus – what a great grace!”
“Be kind, especially with the infirm. Love them well ... Oh yes! Be kind. It is a great grace God is giving you. In serving the aged, it is he himself whom you are serving.”
“The Hail Mary will take us to heaven.”
Jesus, you rejoiced and praised Your Father for having revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. We thank You for the graces granted to Your humble servant, Jeanne Jugan, to whom we confide our petitions and needs.
Father of the Poor, You have never refused the prayer of the lowly. We ask You, therefore, to hear the petitions she presents to You on our behalf.
Jesus, through Mary, Your Mother and ours, we ask this of You, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever.
Year 2: Day 242 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humble service to all in need.
Requested Intentions: Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C); Financial assistance and employment (B); For a family’s intentions (T); Successful examination results (B); Healing of a friend with cancer, for all those who help others (B); Healing and love (L); Grace and healing (V); Healing of a heart, consecration of a marriage (M); Health of a family, intentions of apostolate (H); For repentance (J); For a family in trouble (R).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."