Jeanne Jugan

Her Story

Born in Cancale, (France) in the village of Petites Croix, on October 25, 1792, Jeanne Jugan was baptized on the same day in the Church of Saint- Meen during the upheaval of the French Revolution.

Her father, a sailor like most men from that area, was away in Newfoundland for the fishing season. Four years later, he was lost at sea. Her mother remained alone to raise her four children. At the age of sixteen, Jeanne began helping her family by working as a kitchen maid in a manor near Cancale.

Jeanne Jugan desired only to serve God and the poor - especially the weakest and the most destitute -faithful to the ideal of configuration to Jesus through Mary, that Saint John Eudes taught to the members of the Third Order of the Admirable Mother, an association that she joined around the age of twenty-five.

With Love For God And The Poor

When a young sailor asked her to marry him, she replied, “God wants me for himself. He is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded.”
Jeanne Jugan desired only to serve God and the poor - especially the weakest and the most destitute -faithful to the ideal of configuration to Jesus through Mary, that Saint John Eudes taught to the members of the Third Order of the Admirable Mother, an association that she joined around the age of twenty-five.

Foundress

One winter evening in 1839, she opened her door and her heart to a blind, semi-paralyzed elderly woman who had suddenly found herself alone. Jeanne gave up her own bed. This act committed her forever. A second elderly woman followed, then a third... In 1843, they numbered forty around Jeanne and her three young companions. These latter had chosen her as Superior of their small association which would gradually develop into a true religious life.

From this act of charity, with the approval of her colleagues, Jeanne then focused her attention upon the mission of assisting abandoned elderly women, and from this beginning arose a religious congregation called "The Little Sisters of the Poor".

Veneration

Jugan died in 1879 at the age of 86, and was buried in the graveyard of the General Motherhouse at Saint-Pern. She was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982, and canonized on October 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI, who said, ""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.