Hard to believe. Hard to believe that a whole year has passed since the canonization of our own Jeanne Jugan. And in that year, things here at the Sacred Heart Home have been pretty — normal. Oh sure, sisters have left, sisters have come; residents have died, residents had moved in. But to one degree or another, those kinds of things happen every year.
In other words, life hasn’t really changed much, now that Jeanne Jugan has become St. Mary of the Cross. At least, that’s how it may seem. Because now that Jeanne Jugan is a saint, we can be certain that we have an intercessor for ourselves in heaven. I’d say chances are good that she cares now, more than ever, about the needs of the elderly poor.
And that’s saying a lot. Because we all know that in life, Jeanne devoted herself completely to caring for the elderly poor. Our stained-glass window here in the chapel, daily reminds us of that reality. As Pope Benedict said in his homily at the Canonization Mass one year ago, “Jeanne lived the mystery of love by peacefully accepting darkness and divesting herself of all material possessions until her death.”
She ”peacefully accepted darkness.” That means that she didn’t turn her back on what many others considered bad, sad, or “not the way things are supposed to be.” She lived her life according to the Beatitudes we just heard in the Gospel:
Happy are the poor in spirit.
Happy those who mourn.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right.
Jesus turned the world upside-down. And Jeanne, as a disciple of Jesus, tried to carry out her ministry in the same, upside-down way. Pope Benedict also said this in his homily last year: “St. Mary of the Cross was a beacon to guide our societies, which must always rediscover the place and unique contribution of (the elderly).”
She was a beacon. She is a beacon. Let us follow her light — the light of Christ — by living life in the same, upside-down way. We’ll probably need help to do that. Thankfully, we have an intercessor in heaven who is just waiting to be of service to us.