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Feastday: August 30

from Wikipedia

Saint Jeanne Jugan (October 25, 1792 – August 29, 1879[1]), also known as Sister Mary of the Cross was born in Cancale in Brittany, France, the sixth of the eight children of Joseph and Marie Jugan. Her father died when she was very young and her mother raised this large family alone. When Jeanne was 16, she took a job as the kitchen maid of the Viscountess de la Choue. The viscountess, a devout Christian, had Jeanne accompany her when she visited the sick and the poor. Nine years later, Jeanne began working in the town hospital of Saint-Servan. She worked hard at this physically demanding job but after six years, she left the hospital and went to work for an elderly woman. In the course of Jeanne's duties, the two women recognized a similar Catholic spirituality and began to teach catechism to youngsters and care for the poor and other unfortunates, until Jeanne's friend died.

In 1837, Jeanne and a 72-year old woman (Françoise Aubert) rented part of a small cottage and were joined by Virginie Tredaniel, a 17-year old orphan. These three women then formed a Catholic community of prayer, devoted to teaching the catechism and assisting the poor. Two years later, Jeanne brought a blind widow (Anne Chauvin) to their home and even allowed the woman to sleep in her own bed. From this act of charity, with the approval of her colleagues, Jeanne then focused her attention upon the mission of assisting abandoned elderly women, and from this beginning arose a community called The Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne wrote a simple rule for this new community of women, and they daily went door-to-door requesting food, clothing and money for the women in their care. This was Jeanne's life work, and she performed this mission for the next four decades.

In 1847 based on the request of Leo Dupont (known as the Holy Man of Tours) she established a house in Tours. She was much sought after when ever problems arose and worked with religious and civil authorities to seek help for the poor.[2]

By 1879, the community Jeanne founded had 2,400 Little Sisters and had spread across Europe and to North America. That year, Pope Leo XIII approved the constitutions for the Little Sisters of the Poor. In September 1885, the congregation arrived in South America and made a first foundation in Valparaíso, Chile, from which it expanded later on.

Jeanne died that year and was buried in the graveyard at the motherhouse at Saint-Pern. She was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982, and canonized on October 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI.[3]

Today, pilgrims can visit the house where she was born (Cancale), the House of the Cross at Saint-Servan and the motherhouse where she lived her last 23 years at La Tour Saint Joseph in Saint-Pern.