A Family Feast for Our Mother
In Philadelphia, St. Jeanne Jugan’s extended family prepared for her feast day on August 30 with a novena of prayer and reflections on her life. Each evening, before the Residents’ supper, a Little Sister presented a brief reflection on some words of St. Jeanne Jugan. Everyone present, including staff and visitors, received a copy of the saying of our Mother being considered. These small papers later served as conversation pieces at the meal or back in the rooms. To conclude, we prayed a decade of the Rosary, because we know “the Hail Mary will take us to heaven!”
On the vigil of the solemnity, we gathered in Chapel for a Holy Hour based on “The Beatitudes and St. Jeanne Jugan.” The readings and refrains, the moments of silence, Evening Prayer and Benediction presided by our Chaplain, Father James Sullivan, deepened in us all our gratitude for the many blessings we receive through Our Mother.
The highlight of the feast was the Eucharistic Celebration presided by Bishop Michael Fitzgerald at 10:30 a.m. As Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese, he had become familiar with St. Jeanne Jugan’s life and work. In his homily, he quoted her saying to her daughters at Holy Family Home: “To be a good Little Sister of the Poor, one must love God and the poor a great deal, and forget oneself!” We appreciated active participation in the Liturgy by Residents who raised their voices in song, employees who joined in praising our Great God for our Mother Foundress, and for Jeanne Jugan Associates who served a lectors and wheelchair assistants.
After Mass, Bishop Fitzgerald took plenty of time to greet everyone. Father Sullivan then helped him find his way to the new dining room where the greetings continued for Residents and staff who where unable to attend Mass. After receiving an episcopal blessing, a delicious, well-presented dinner was served. To the added delight of all, there was live music during the meal by Moe, who is a classical guitarist and the husband of our activities director, Deborah. At 2 p.m., Residents and staff were invited to pay attention to a Power-Point Presentation on the Life of Our Mother so as to be able to compete in a Cross-Word Puzzle game based on St. Jeanne Jugan. Employees, AJJ’s and Little Sisters paired up with Residents to see who could complete the Cross-Word Puzzle first. The winner was Alice, who, being sight-impaired, had listened carefully to the presentation!
Then, who should arrive at our front door but Mister Softee, playing his familiar diddily-dee tune! Jeanne Jugan’s extended family, including Residents, staff coming on duty and staff leaving, visitors, and Sisters were treated to a delicious conclusion of a happy family feast. She was surely smiling down on Holy Family Home!