Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saint Jeanne Jugan

May Saint Jeanne Jugan be for the elderly
a living source of hope and for the persons
so generously placing themselves at their service
a powerful stimulus to pursue and develop her work!
– Pope Benedict XVI

I grabbed this reflection from the "Little Sisters of the Poor" blog, written by Jennifer LaVoie, a postulant-to-be. It concerns Jennifer LaVoie's experience of attending the Canonization of Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. I would recommend checking out the sisters blog (link below) - there are many nice pictures and reflections of the event.

Back home, with time to reflect…
October 20, 2009
An awesome experience
Jennifer LaVoie, postulant-to-be

We have experienced so much in such a little amount of time! We went to the catacombs the first day, and it was particularly moving for me because it was where so many of our saints of many centuries ago were buried, including Saint Cecilia, my unofficial patron! … It was a really good way to start off our tour because we were literally walking in the footsteps of the saints.

A particular note for me has been the music, which I was privileged to be a part of the whole week [Jennifer participated in the liturgies with the Glenn Mohr Chorale]. There have been many unscripted moments, especially in regards to the music. I ended up playing in the first two Masses for the U.S. pilgrims. We did not have hymnals, so we sang songs that everyone knew. The music was so full and worshipful. It was really edifying to hear everyone sing. All of the masses with Glenn Mohr went very well overall, and everyone said that they enjoyed the music. Divino Amore was definitely my favorite. It felt like we were singing with the angels. Also, I was really, really touched by Cardinal Law's homily on Saint Jeanne at the mass.

At the canonization, I was separated from our group entirely, and actually ended up to the left of the Papal altar, about 15 pews back. I had a bird’s eye view of the Pope during the consecration. The whole thing was really so solemn and reverent. About 10 minutes before the Mass, you could actually hear the silence in the basilica. After the canonization, I actually got to get really close to the Pope—about 3 rows back from his canopy, on the left hand side. It really struck me how jovial and happy he was. It all is just so wonderful.

I met Little Sisters from all over the world. I met Sr Mary Josephine, who is a novice from India, and many other Little Sisters. I have now also met Mary and Andrea briefly, who are in my postulant group. When I was in Rome, Rachel and I both wore our postulant outfits (even though we don’t officially become postulants for a couple of weeks). At St. Mary Major, some Spanish-speaking pilgrims recognized it as the postulant outfit, and started talking to me in Spanish all about St. Jeanne and the order. They were very happy about the canonization, and knew us pretty well.

A wonderful moment for me was visiting the home in Rome. There was a constant flow of pilgrims coming in and out, yet our hosts were very gracious. We went out onto the terrace, and then the roof, and we had a perfect view of the Coliseum and quite a large section of the city. The home in Rome also has a beautiful icon of St. Jeanne, which I have never seen before. It really drew me into prayer, and I wished that I could have sat and meditated on it for hours.

I brought all of the community and the resident’s intentions to every place we went. It has really been an awesome experience for me. I really feel that this experience is bringing me so much closer to Notre Mere, and to our beloved congregation.


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