Sayings of Jeanne Jugan
Although Saint Jeanne Jugan never wrote anything, certain of her sayings have been handed down to us, just as they came from her lips…
On Her Vocation
When she was 18 years old Jeanne was asked for her hand in marriage by a young sailor to which she responded:
“God wants me for himself, he is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded.”
Although Jeanne didn’t yet know what the Lord wanted from her, she hesitated to make a commitment as she knew in her heart that the Lord had a particular mission for her.
When Jeanne took her religious name, Sister Mary of the Cross, it marked the beginning of a new life for Jeanne which was entirely dedicated to God in the service of the poor.
“Do not call me Jeanne Jugan. All that is left of her is Sister Mary of the Cross, unworthy though she is of that lovely name.”
On Serving the Poor
Jeanne spent the last 27 years of her life at the Motherhouse, La Tour St Joseph in Brittany. This provided her with an opportunity to pass on words of advice and wisdom to the Novices and whilst simple her words were profoundly meaningful.
“What happiness for us, to be a Little Sister of the Poor!”
“It is a great grace that God has given you in calling you to serve the poor.”
“My little ones, never forget that the poor are Our Lord; in caring for the poor say to yourself: This is for my Jesus—what a great grace!”
“Be kind, especially with the infirm. Love them well … Oh yes! Be kind. It is a great grace God is giving you. In serving the aged, it is he himself whom you are serving.”
“When you will be near the poor, give yourself wholeheartedly.”
“Making the elderly happy—that is what counts!”
“My little ones, we should always be cheerful, for our old people do not like long faces.”
“Refuse God nothing … We must do all through love.”
“To be a good Little Sister of the Poor, one must love God and the poor a great deal, and forget oneself.”
“Love God very much, so that you can look after the aged well, for it is Jesus whom you care for in them.”
On Spiritual Poverty & Trust in God
We live in a world where we think, in order to get ahead, we have to impose ourselves, dominate others or find someway of standing out in a crowd, yet Jeanne thought otherwise and encouraged the novices to be meek and humble by advising them to be:
“Little, very little, be very little before God.”
Jeanne and her companions lived alongside the poor and saw themselves as one with them. They shared their poverty and became dependent on God for all their needs and he never let them down.
“It is so good to be poor, to have nothing, to depend on God for everything.”
“If God is with us, it will be accomplished … God will help us; the work is his.”
“He is so good … love God very much. All for him, do everything through love.”
“Give us the house—if God fills it, God will not abandon it!”
“We must always say: ‘Blessed be God. Thank you, my God. Glory be to God.’”
“God has blessed me because I have always greatly thanked his Providence.”
On Union with Jesus and Mary
Jeanne lived in the presence of God thanking and praising him continually for his goodness.
“My good Jesus, I have only you.”
“We were grafted into the Cross.”
“Let us sing the glory of our risen Jesus.”
“Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel. Go and find him when your strength and patience are giving out, when you feel lonely and helpless. Say to him: ‘You know well what is happening, my dear Jesus. I have only you. Come to my aid …’ And then go your way. And don’t worry about knowing how you are going to manage. It is enough to have told our good Lord. He has an excellent memory.”
“The Hail Mary will take us to heaven.”
“See how Jesus, Mary and Joseph loved one another, all three, how happy they looked, with what kindness and gentleness they spoke to each other. In our little family, it must be the same.”
“My children, you love Our Lady? She will be your Mother!”
“When you will be old, you will no longer see anything … as for me, I no longer see anything but the good God.”
“Eternal Father, open your gates today to the most miserable of your children, but one who greatly longs to see you. O Mary, my dear Mother, come to me. You know that I love you and I long to see You”