Little Sisters of the Poor
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The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic religious institute for women. It was founded in the 19th century by Saint Jeanne Jugan near Rennes, France. Jugan felt the need to care for the many impoverished elderly who lined the streets of French towns and cities.
This led her to welcome an elderly lady into her home and the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor began. Gradually Jugan built up homes in and around Rennes. In 1843 the community's spiritual advisor declined to let Jugan head the institute and so she became an ordinary sister and model of humility. Jeanne Jugan was a helper to the elderly and disabled. She used to go on the streets of France to collect money for her organization. Once when Jugan begged a young man for money, he hit her on the face. She replied with calmness, "You gave that to me, now give me something for the elderly." The man was astounded by the sweetness of her reply and with all his heart he gave her all the money he had at that time.
Today the Little Sisters of the Poor serve in 31 countries around the world (including homes in Turkey, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Penang, New Zealand and Philippines), continuing in their original purpose of caring for the elderly. In addition to the Sisters' apostolate, a semi-contemplative emphasis is also maintained within the institute. Professed sisters therefore take a new religious name - usually a saint or someone associated with the institute, and wear a full religious habit consisting of a black dress and scapular, full grey veil and a white headband which covers the hair of the sister. In warmer climates/seasons a white habit/veil is worn by the sisters. They have grown from one woman helping one woman to one of the most successful religious organizations in the world.
- Michel Lafon, 2009 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Jeanne Jugan New City Press ISBN 1-56548-329-4
- Catholic online video of the Motherhouse at La Tour Saint Joseph
- Little Sisters of the Poor, Chennai, India
- Little Sisters of the Poor, national U.S. site
- "Little Sisters of the Poor". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.