Caring for the Elderly - Inspired by our Faith
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the learned and the clever, and have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, for such was your good pleasure.”
To the eagerness for progress and liberty of her contemporaries, Jeanne Jugan brought the transparent witness of the revelation of God's mysteries to “little ones.”
Jeanne Jugan always lived her faith with the simplicity of the “little ones.” She advanced resolutely, looking on events and persons with a living faith which arouses hope and works through charity.
Twenty years of belonging to the Third Order of the Admirable Mother had already simplified her soul through the contemplation of the mystery of Jesus and Mary. The spirituality of Saint John Eudes had thus prepared her to penetrate the supernatural richness of hospitality for the accomplishment of her own hospitaller mission with simplicity, humility and union with God in prayer and charity.
Divine Providence gave a very powerful support to the work of Jeanne Jugan in the tradition of charity of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God. This latter communicated its living spirit of hospitaller charity to her work, without hindering the development of this work according to its own charism and specific character. To the Order of Saint John of God, Jeanne Jugan also owes the “vow of hospitality,” by which the service of the Aged poor is raised to the dignity of an act of the virtue of religion.
These two great spiritual currents, meeting and merging — by God's design — in the soul of Jeanne Jugan, created within it a capacity for universal openness. The very rapid expansion of her work showed her that God was destining her to a vocation of charity which could only be attained by an indefectible attachment to the Church. Her earthly mission ended when she saw her small bark firmly attached to that of the Church.
The spirit of the Congregation is the evangelical spirit expressed by Jesus in the Beatitudes. Jeanne Jugan, faithful to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, radiated particularly in her life gentleness and humility of heart, which enabled her to surrender herself, in simplicity, to the joy of hospitality.
That is what our name Little Sister of the Poor denotes.
For Jeanne Jugan, the Poor defined her vocation. God had waited for her in the Poor; she had met and found him in the Poor.
To be a Little Sister of the Poor, reminds the Little Sisters of those to whom they have vowed their lives, and of their desire to go always to the poorest, to create a flow of apostolic collaboration and fraternal charity, in order to assist Christ in the Poor. For each one personally, it is an invitation to share in the beatitude of spiritual poverty, leading us towards that radical dispossession which surrenders a soul to God.
The grace of hospitality towards the Aged poor, Jeanne Jugan's charism as Foundress, was welcomed by her with simplicity of soul. Pursuing her particular charism, she found in this vow a privileged means of expressing the gift of ourselves to our apostolate of charity. Consecrated hospitality is, in the midst of the world, a witness to the mercy of the Father and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus.
(Excerpts from the Constitutions of the Little Sisters of the Poor)