Besides the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience made by most Religious, we make a fourth vow of hospitality. This practice for us goes right back to the time of Jeanne Jugan who was greatly helped and encouraged by Fr Felix Massot, a Brother of St John of God.
|“Hospitality, which consecrates us to the service of the Aged poor, is the fruit of the charity which the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts. It is based on the words of Our Lord.|
|He gave us as the first and greatest commandment to love God with our whole heart and our neighbour as ourselves…”
(Constitutions No 53)
“Consecrated hospitality is, in the midst of the world, a witness to the mercy of the Father and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus.”
(Constitutions No 55)
|“In order to practise the spirit of this vow, we employ our strength and spend our lives in the service of the Aged. Without sparing fatigue or labour, we serve them day and night with promptitude and love…”
(Constitutions No 58)
Many of you may have seen Little Sisters of the Poor collecting either in offices, factories, markets, houses – that is, wherever people are to be found!
This “tradition of collecting” goes right back to the beginnings of the Congregation when Jeanne Jugan needed the help of others to provide for the growing number of elderly in her care. She asked for financial assistance and also for goods in kind. Indeed she was recognised on the streets of France by her “begging basket” as it came to be known. Jeanne never forgot to thank God for what she received but equally she never forgot her benefactors and would pray daily for them. Later in life she was to say: “This is why God always blessed me, because I was always thankful to Providence.”
God’s Providence for her was tangible through the kindness and generous sharing of thers. Jeanne recognised that all she accomplished and received on behalf of the elderly was a gift of God. She herself was creative and ingenious and knew how to involve people in her work of charity. She could not ‘go it alone’ and neither can we, Little Sisters of the Poor, today.
Running our homes is a daily miracle. With ever increasing costs we know that God’s Providence is with us in the person of those who give us their financial assistance and gifts, through their prayer, volunteering and those more closely attached to the Congregation as ‘associates’.
The family of Jeanne Jugan has grown and you, the readers of our website are welcome to become part of it.