Friday, March 20, 2009

St. Joseph and Blessed Jeanne Jugan

There is a St. Joseph day tradition in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph whereby priests of the diocese visit the Little Sisters of the Poor's Jeanne Jugan residence, celebrate Mass, and then serve a meal to the residents. This is observed on St. Joseph day because he is a patron of the Little Sisters and was a great strength to their founder, Blessed Jeanne Jugan, who will be canonized later this year.

Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland led the visit this year, and the history-buff bishop gave a beautiful account of the life of Jeanne Jugan and her devotion to St. Joseph. Her story is quite peculiar in that she was for long not even recognized as the founder. A manipulative priest forced her into seclusion and took effective control of the order. Not until after her death was the truth revealed.

Through all this, Bishop Boland said, "She accepted this rejection with great humility and, in many ways like her beloved patron, Saint Joseph, she too adopted in obedience a 'hidden life' of self-effacement."

Bishop Boland's full homily is below: