I had a silly thought yesterday. As I was thinking ahead to this celebration of Jeanne Jugan’s feast day today, it occurred to me that this is the first time her feast has been celebrated since she was canonized a saint. So, here’s the silly thought: do you suppose there’s any recognition of this fact up in heaven? I don’t know: some special celebration of the reality that last year she was “blessed;” this year, she’s playin’ in the big league. She’s a saint!
Jeanne Jugan, herself, would probably never ask for any special treatment. She is, after all, a model of humility. One who always understood the power of obscurity, of weakness, of nothing-ness. But it sure would make me feel good to think about her as revered in heaven as she is on earth. Especially here, in this chapel, and in the chapels of Little Sisters of the Poor homes all over the world.
The more I think about it, though, any “Queen for a Day” treatment of St. Mary of the Cross flies in the face of everything we know about not only her, but about heaven, as well. Not that we know for certain what heaven is like, but Jesus Christ certainly pointed to the reality that heaven is a place where no distinctions exist. Everyone is treated the same. All are sons and daughters of God. Brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
In other words, in heaven, we are all “Queens (and Kings) for a Day.” Every day. Forever and ever.
Given this reality, seems like Jeanne Jugan has a special role in heaven, nevertheless. Not to shine the spotlight on herself, but to shine it on all of us.
How happy are the poor in spirit, we heard in the Gospel.
Happy the gentle.
Happy those who mourn.
It’s if Jesus were speaking directly to us here at the Sacred Heart Home.
After all we’re poor, we’re powerless, we’re mourning.
Some would call it mere coincidence that we’re celebrating this feast day just following the deaths of three of our Residents, on three successive days. But it’s my calling to look for the hand of God at work.
And so I wonder: maybe this is how Jeanne Jugan wanted to celebrate her first feast day has a saint. With her beloved elderly poor coming to be with her, and her friend, Jesus.
That kind of happiness is waiting for us all.