Category Archives: St. Jeanne Jugan

3 Saints Who Never Knew the Impact They Would Have on Others –

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This article appeared in Aleteia on May 18, 2016
St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Frederick Ozanam, St. Jeanne Jugan

Saint-Servan, France,1839:  On a bitterly cold winter night,  Jeanne Jugan , 47, looked out from her bedroom window and saw a person huddled outside. She went out and somehow managed to carry the shivering woman into her own home and place her in her own bed.

The woman’s name was Anne Chauvin and she was blind, paralyzed and quite old. She was also close to freezing to death. And so it began, for on that very night Jeanne Jugan turned her life to serving God by caring for the elderly poor. 
Word spread quickly throughout the small town and before long more elderly sick and poor were being brought to Jeanne. Other women, younger and healthier, were coming to her also. But they were coming to join her in her work. The small group of women grew and became known as  The Little Sisters of the Poor
By 1879, there were over 2400 Little Sisters of the Poor in nine countries. That year was also the year that Pope Leo XIII approved the by-laws of the order. Ironically, it was also the same year Jeanne Jugan died at the age of 86. She was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Saint Jeanne Jugan never knew that when she was founding the Little Sisters of the Poor a young countryman of hers in Paris was responding to God’s flowing graces. Frederick Ozanam was a 20 year old student at the University of Paris. Challenged by his “enlightened” college peers, he embraced their taunts “to practice what you preach”.  
Accepting the challenge, Frederick went out and gave his coat to a beggar.  Shortly thereafter,  he and his four pals founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society . That was in May of 1833.  They named the society after St.Vincent because he was known for his work with the poor.
Vincent de Paul never knew that 170 years after his death an organization named after him would take up the mantle of helping the poor all over the world. Frederick Ozanam died at the age of 40 and was beatified and declared ‘Blessed’ by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Frederick  would never know that the organization he had founded would one day work side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their mission of charity toward the elderly poor.
 St. Jeanne Jugan could never have known that from the moment she carried Anne Chauvin into her home she would change the world for thousands upon thousands of the sick and disabled elderly. She could never have imagined that in the 21st century her order would be serving the poorest of the elderly in cities all over the United States and in 31 countries around the world.
 Blessed Frederick would never have imagined that his Society of St. Vincent de Paul would become a worldwide organization with close to a million members helping the needy all over the world. The grand irony is that over the course of several centuries the paths of these three saints have been interwoven dramatically as their followers help the poor, homeless and downtrodden no matter where they may be.
The three saints mentioned here never knew what their simple acts of kindness would lead to. The difference with them was that, unlike most folks, they responded to God’s grace. Jeanne took care of that sickly woman and Fred gave away his coat. Vincent worked with poor tenant farmers and founded the Daughters of Charity.
These three unpretentious, God loving people had two things in common.  First, they embraced God’s grace and followed His call. Secondly, they asked for NOTHING for themselves and welcomed whatever came their way, including poverty. Their legacies live on in the thousands upon thousands of their followers and in all those millions who have been helped by their simple acts of faith. This is a beautiful thing.
 As a Catholic I love these people and I am proud to consider myself part of their extended family. They set examples for us that we are supposed to emulate. They are our Catholic heroes and therefore members of our Catholic Hall of Fame. They asked for nothing and gave everything. I love being able to talk to them. What I love best is when they talk back. And they do, sooner or later and one way or another.
 St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugan and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, please keep praying for all of us. And —THANK YOU.

                            ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

The War by the "Worldly" is Secular Abuse Against the Very Heart of Christianity

by Larry Peterson

It was a brutally cold winter night in 1839 when Jeanne Jugan brought  the sick, blind, homeless woman into her home.  All she wanted to do was help the poor woman.  She had no agenda.  She wanted nothing.  She simply wanted to do what God’s graces had asked her to do, “Love her neighbor”.   Jeanne never planned to have people begin to follow her example.  She never dreamed that she would become the founder of an organization  called the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Jeanne Jugan could not in her wildest dreams foresee the order she had founded serving the elderly poor in 31 countries around the world.  She must have had tears of joy streaming down her saintly face when Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2009.
Today she,  and many others with her in the heavenly realm, must be so ashamed and saddened by the members of the secular world who, disguised in a mask of counterfeit virtue, are determined to lay waste to  Christianity.  Make no mistake, we Catholic/Christians are at war;  and the Worldly, including many who claim to be with us, are waging this war against us.  Their primary weapon is the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare”.  Where does this weapon of mass secularity have its sights trained?  Where else but on  St. Jeanne Jugan’s order, The Little Sisters of the Poor.  Are you kidding me?  The government of the United States of America, under the control of the Worldly, is after  The Little Sisters.  The order must be considered an easy target because, after granting exemptions to other groups, the Worldly refused to grant an exemption to The Little Sisters of the Poor.  Supreme Court Justice  Sonia Sotomayor, an appointee of the Worldly in power, granted the Little Sisters a temporary injunction against the mandate.  Undeterred in their mission of spreading their all-knowing  secularity, the Worldy immediately responded and asked the court to drop the appeal.  Now we wait.  We wait to see if the First Amendment of the Constitution is to be upheld.
 As a  writer and a Catholic I have unexpectedly found myself blogging more and more about subjects that pertain to things “Catholic”.  I never began writing with that in mind. My novel, “The Priest and the Peaches”,  deals with a Catholic family and a priest but it is not considered religious.  Rather, it is classified as ‘historical fiction’.  My children’s book  is not religious either.  I had  been working on the sequel to TP & TP but I have had that on hold for almost six months as I blog about things and people that pertain to my faith.  I do this because my faith is under attack.  I never thought I would live to see the day when the power of  our government would be used by those we have empowered to demand we violate our religious principles?   Our faith does not just take place INSIDE a church.  It takes place within our very hearts and minds. We are supposed to LIVE our faith and, though many of us often fail, it is our CHOICE to fail.  It is no one’s business.  The government of the United States of America does not have the right to enter into our “hearts and minds” and tell us what to believe the same as it does not belong inside our churches.
We, as a church, a faith community, and as individuals who are part of it and believe in it are being abused and are under attack. The Little Sisters of the Poor and communities like them need our voices to ring out.  So do the almost 10 million folks who are able to turn to almost 1400  charitable organizations run by the Catholic church every year. So do the people, mostly volunteers, who staff  the 600,000 plus soup kitchens feeding folks everyday and distribute food from the two million food banks and pantries. If you factor in all the other religious and charitable organizations in the United States there is a veritable population of “goodness and kindness and giving” spread across this entire nation. Most are folks  who ask nothing in return  for sharing their time,  their hearts and their love with those less fortunate. It seems to me that the Worldly need to start minding their own damn business. 

                                              copyright © 2014  Larry Peterson

Saints Jeanie, Fred, Vinnie — Our Catholic Christian Families Must All Stand Together

by Larry Peterson

When Jeanie Jugon began working in the hospital in Saint-Servan she was 25 years old. She hated poverty and all it wrought and she wanted desperately to fight back against it. One bitterly cold winter night in 1839, Jeanie looked out from her bedroom window and saw a person huddled outside. She went out and  somehow managed to carry the freezing woman into her own home and place her in her own bed. The woman was blind, paralyzed and quite old. And so it began, for on that very night Jeanne Jugan turned her life to serving God by caring for the elderly poor.

Word spread quickly throughout the small town and before long more elderly sick and poor were being brought to Jeanie. Other women, younger and healthier, were coming to her also. But they were coming to join her in her work. The small group of women grew and became known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Forty years later there were over 2400 Little Sisters of the Poor in nine countries. 1879 was also the year that Pope Leo XIII approved the by-laws of the order. That  was the same year Jeanie Jugon died at the age of 86. She was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint Jeanne Jugon never knew that when she was founding the Little Sisters of the Poor a young man hundreds of miles away in Paris was unknowingly doing something quite similar. Fred Ozanam was a 20 year old student at the University of Paris and, challenged by his “enlightened” college peers, embraced their taunts “to practice what you preach”.  So he went out and gave his coat to a beggar.  Then he and his four pals founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. That was in May of 1833.  The society was  named after St.Vinnie because he was known for his work with the poor.

 Vincent de Paul never knew that 170 years after his death an organization named after him would take up the mantel of helping the poor all over the world. Fred Ozanam died at the age of 40 and was beatified and declared ‘Blessed’ by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Fred would never know that the organization he  had founded  would one day work side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their mission of charity toward the elderly poor. Saint Jeanie could never have known that from the moment she carried her first old, sick woman into her home she would change the world for thousands upon thousands of the sick and disabled elderly. She could never have imagined that in the 21st century her order would be serving the poorest of the  elderly in cities all over the United States and in 31 countries around the world. Blessed Fred would never have imagined that his St.Vincent de Paul Society would become a worldwide organization with 3/4 of a million members helping the needy all over the world. The grand irony is that over the course of several centuries the paths of these three saints have been interwoven dramatically as their followers help the poor, homeless and downtrodden no matter where they may be.

The three saints mentioned here never knew what their simple acts of kindness would lead to. The difference with them was that, unlike most folks, they responded to God’s grace. Jeanie took care of that sickly woman and Fred gave away his coat. Vinnie worked with poor tenant farmers and founded the Daughter’s of Charity. The two things they all had in common was a) they welcomed God’s grace and followed His call and b) they asked for NOTHING for themselves and embraced poverty. Remarkably, their thousands and thousands of followers, separated by centuries, work together to this day. This is a beautiful thing.

 Using the names of saints as I have done here bothers some folks. I really do not care about that.  My brother’s name is Daniel but I call him Danny. As far as Jeanie, Fred and Vinnie go, they are my family too.  You see, I love all of these people and using their names like that makes me feel closer to them. They set examples for us that we supposed to emulate. They are our Catholic heroes and therefore  members of our Catholic Hall of Fame. They asked for nothing and gave everything. I love being able to talk to them. What I love best is when they talk back. And they do, sooner or later and one way or another.

We must remember to pray hard for The Little Sisters of the Poor as they stand their ground against the HHS mandate that threatens their very existence. The forces of secularism are hard at work to remove religion from our lives. All our family members, including Vinnie, Jeanie and Fred, need  to stand together defending each other against this enemy.

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugon and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, please pray for us.