One of my girlhood heroes was Jeanne Jugan, the founder of an order of nuns called The Little Sisters of the Poor. I heard about this woman, now a saint canonized in 2009, when I was growing up in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jeanne Jugan was born in revolutionary France with a knowledge that God had a vocation, as yet undiscovered, for her. One night she found a blind, elderly woman dying on the street and took her to her own small apartment and gave up her bed to her. This was to be the beginning of the order of nuns she would establish and lead. Jeanne herself was already 50 years old when her order was founded.
The Little Sisters of the Poor took care of the elderly poor with love and care in a clean and lovely setting. They didn’t try to change or convert the people they cared for. If someone chewed tobacco, he or she could still chew – they provided a jar in which to spit. The only way that they had money to take care of their clients was through charity. They asked local businesses to help them and they prayed. Their prayers were always answered. All of the members of this order of nuns were cheerful and seemed totally happy in their vocation of taking care of the elderly poor.
Check back tomorrow to find out about a heroine who wrote about her life as a pioneer.