To provide for the needs of the elderly, Saint Jeanne Jugan walked the roads of Brittany seeking alms. Knocking on doors, she asked for money and gifts in kind – whatever was needed for her poor. She was recognized by the begging basket she carried.
She believed that because God is our Father, all men and women are brothers and sisters – members of one family – and thus responsible for one another.
To an impatient benefactor who asked her why she burdened herself with all those old people, Jeanne replied, "We shall share them, Sir. You will provide for them and I will care for their needs."
So trusting was Jeanne in the Providence of God and the goodness of others that, in her old age, she intervened at a decisive moment in its history to ensure that the Congregation would never accept guaranteed forms of income. To do so, she felt, would betray our trust in Providence. That is why, to this day, we do not accept any form of permanent income. To some people this seems insane, but over one hundred and seventy years and more than 200 homes throughout the world, the efficacy of Jeanne's unique form of strategic planning has been proved.
Today, the Little Sisters carry on the tradition begun by Jeanne as we visit markets and businesses seeking food and commodities to offset operating expenses and to maintain and upgrade our Homes. On weekends we visit local parishes to ask for support and we may also be found in shopping centres. We conduct requests by mail and we organize fund-raising events in favour of our homes.
Since we continue our mission of caring for the most disadvantaged elderly in our society, our benefactors make it possible for us to give the extra comforts that provide the elderly with an improved quality of life.