紀念日 / Memorial date
聖余剛貞於1792 年 10 月 25 日，出生於法國布列塔尼地區的一個港口城市，在法國大革命的政治和宗教動蕩中長大。在她出生後四年，她的父親在海上失蹤。她的母親努力養活余剛貞和她的三個兄弟姐妹，同時在當時反天主教的迫害中，秘密地為他們提供宗教教育。
25歲時，余剛貞加入了聖約翰·尤德斯第三會（The Third Order of St. John Eudes），這是一個成立於17世紀的平信徒團體。她曾在聖塞爾萬鎮當了六年護士，但由於健康問題不得不離職。之後，她為一位第三會成員當傭工共 12 年，直到該顧主在 1835 年去世。
後來，當奧古斯特·勒·帕勒爾神父（Auguste Le Pailleur）被任命為該會的總會長時，撤銷了余剛貞的領導角色，並命令她退休。余剛貞便默默無聞地為窮苦老人求乞和照顧他們 27 年之久。在這些日子裡，余剛貞藉着祈禱，欣然接受上主所允許的考驗。她於 1879 年 8 月 29 日去世時，仍未被確認為「安貧小姊妹修女會」的創辦人。當時該修會已有 2 400 名成員在國際上為窮苦老人服務。多年後，余剛貞才被公認為「安貧小姊妹修女會」的會祖。
Saint Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross)
Jeanne Jugan was born on October 25, 1792 in a port city of the French region of Brittany, She grew up during the political and religious upheavals of the French Revolution. Four years after she was born, her father was lost at sea. Her mother struggled to provide for Jeanne and her three brother and sisters, while also providing them secretly with religious instruction amid the anti-Catholic persecutions of the day.
Jeanne worked as a shepherdess, and later as a domestic servant. At age 18, and again six years later, she declined two marriage proposals from the same man. She told her mother that God had other plans, and was calling her to “a work which is not yet founded.”
At age 25, the young woman joined the Third Order of St. John Eudes, a religious association for laypersons founded during the 17th century. Jeanne worked as a nurse in the town of Saint-Servan for six years, but had to leave her position due to health troubles. Afterward she worked for 12 years as the servant of a fellow member of the third order, until the woman's death in 1835.
During 1839, a year of economic hardship in Saint-Servan, Jeanne was sharing an apartment with an older woman and an orphaned young lady. It was during the winter of this year that Jeanne encountered Anne Chauvin, an elderly woman who was blind, partially paralyzed, and had no one to care for her.
Jeanne carried Anne home to her apartment and took her in from that day forward, letting the woman have her bed while Jeanne slept in the attic. She soon took in two more old women in need of help, and by 1841 she had rented a room to provide housing for a dozen elderly people. The following year, she acquired an unused convent building that could house 40 of them.
During the 1840s, many other young women joined Jeanne in her mission of service to the elderly poor. By begging in the streets, the foundress was able to establish four more homes for their beneficiaries by the end of the decade. By 1850, over 100 women had joined the congregation that had become known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.
However, Jeanne Jugan – known in religious life as Sister Mary of the Cross – had been forced out of her leadership role by Father Auguste Le Pailleur, the priest who had been appointed superior general of the congregation. In an apparent effort to suppress her true role as foundress, the superior general ordered her into retirement and a life of obscurity for 27 years.
During these years, she served the order through her prayers and by accepting the trial permitted by God. At the time of her death on August 29, 1879, she was not known to have founded the order, which by then had 2 400 members serving internationally. Fr. Le Pailleur, however, was eventually investigated and disciplined, and St. Jeanne Jugan came to be acknowledged as their foundress.
O God, glory of the humble,
who inspired the Virgin Saint Jeanne,
to serve you in the aged poor
through the humility of a hidden life,
grant, by her example and through her intercession
that we may manifest among all people
the mystery of your love, which you have revealed to little ones.
Through Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.