Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saint Jeanne Jugan and Little Sisters of the Poor

     Today is the feast day of St. Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of Little Sisters of the Poor.  Our local St. Joseph’s Little Sisters of the Poor home is where I began volunteering in high school, where I had some interesting experiences regarding the discernment of my vocation in college, and where my grandmother now lives. 
     I have many wonderful memories of the time I spent visiting residents, volunteering, going there for Mass, talking with the sisters, and now going to see my grandma.  The love, charity, and joy that the Little Sisters of the Poor have, and the tenderness with which they care for the elderly speaks volumes about their faith life and their call to live out their religious vocation.
     I once was having a conversation with one of the sisters about a concern my grandmother had, and what impressed me most was that she not only listened to what I had to say, but she also responded with a comment about how all of the employees, whether consecrated religious or laypersons, are to be an extension of their hands. 
Everyone expects and hopes that people will be well taken care of and provided for, especially at such a fragile stage of life, but I felt very comforted that they expect and see to it that the love, tenderness, and compassion they embody as Little Sisters of the Poor is embraced by all who help care for and interact with the residents. 
     If we really think about it, each and every one of us is to be an extension of Christ to others.  That really got me thinking about all the different ways I use my hands.   How many of my actions are done out of love, compassion, tenderness, and in a way that is truly Christ-like? 
     Lord, thank You for the challenge and the grace to care for others as if we were caring for Jesus Christ.  So often the people closest to us are suffering in one way or another, and we can overlook the fact that they are Christ, sometimes in distressing disguise, needing love, attention, compassion, joy, mercy, peace, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness.
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