Chicago Province: Sister Maria de la Luz
St. Joseph's Home
80 W. Northwest Hwy.
Palatine, IL 60067
On October 25, 1792, in the fishing port of Cancale, in Brittany, France, a little girl was born whose name would one day be known on every continent. Less than four years later her father was lost at sea, like so many other Breton sailors. Jeanne and her brothers and sisters learned from their mother how to live poorly but courageously, with faith and love in God.
When she was eighteen years old, Jeanne refused a first marriage proposal. Six years later, she asked the young sailor who renewed his request to no longer think of her. “God wants me for himself,” she confided to her mother. “He is keeping me for a work which is not yet known, for a work which is not yet founded.”
She would found this work more than twenty years later in Saint Servan, a city near Cancale, where she discovered a blind and paralyzed old woman who had been abandoned. Jeanne took her in her arms, brought her home and placed her in her own bed. Another old woman would follow, then a third . . . the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor was born.
When Jeanne Jugan died on August 29, 1879, there were already 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor caring for the elderly in nine countries. Today, in over 30 countries around the world, we continue the work begun by Jeanne Jugan by serving the elderly of the human family.
Jeanne often told the young Sisters, “Making the elderly happy, that is what counts.” Today we strive to live out these words of our foundress with the help of many collaborators and friends.