“O Jesus … I ardently desire that all creatures of the universe be transformed
into flaming fires of love towards you.”
Saint John Eudes
As we celebrate the feast of St. John Eudes (on August 19th), we are reminded of his great influence on the life of St. Jeanne Jugan. His sublime spirituality, the love and devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, filled Jeanne Jugan’s heart to overflowing when she became a tertiary of the Society of the Admirable Heart of the Mother of God, a third order of St. John Eudes, when she was about 25 years old.
His spirit of charity towards his neighbor planted the seed in Jeanne’s heart for the work God was planning for her. As this seed was nurtured through prayer and charitable works, the foundation of the work God had prepared for her was being laid. Finally, at age 47, this seed came to fruition when Jeanne’s heart was moved very deeply by the severe plight of Anne Chauvin, a blind and paralyzed woman. Jeanne picked her up, carried her home and put her in her own bed. This act of charity, rooted in the spirituality of St. John Eudes, had now begun to blossom and spread way beyond her imagination.
As Jeanne’s work or rather as she would say, “God’s work,” grew and spread she received her strength and courage from her deep spirit of prayer. But she knew she could not do it alone. She needed others to help her. The number of her spiritual daughters grew but also she relied on her benefactors for the financial support in order to feed, clothe, and care for her “charges.”
Over time, it became very evident that this tremendous undertaking needed still others to help and support it. Today, we are now assisted by a lay organization known as the Associate Jeanne Jugan.
This lay association of men and women assist us Little Sisters in many ways by trying to be an extension of our hands in caring for and rejoicing the heart of our Residents.
The members have a full year of formation, taught by a Little Sister to imbue them with the spirit and charism of St. Jeanne Jugan, which is littleness and humble service to the elderly poor. As well as deepening their doctrinal knowledge of scripture and the doctrines of the Church.
Today, they number approximately 2,000 around the world and are still growing. Although the Association Jeanne Jugan may not be a third order per say, it still resembles the organization Jeanne Jugan belonged to when she was young.
We Little Sisters greatly appreciate the Association members as they help to continue the important work of St. Jeanne Jugan.
Photo: Resident Helen Staab enjoys chatting with her friend Roz Kell, an AJJ member since 1995.