On December 8, the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, this feast marks the day when “from the first moment of her conception, Mary—by the singular grace of God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ- was preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” This means that Mary “was redeemed from the moment of her conception,” and “remained free from personal sin her whole life long” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 490-493). From all eternity, God had chosen Mary to be the mother of his Son (CCC 488), and with the Immaculate Conception, God’s plan for our salvation begins to fall into place.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a very special feast day for the Little Sisters of the Poor. On December 8, 1854, our Mother Foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, pronounced her perpetual vows, definitively sealing her consecration to the Lord. Two years earlier, her first companions pronounced their perpetual vows, while she, the foundress, had to wait. Our Lord would give her the joy of making her perpetual profession on the very day Pope Pius IX would proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was consecrated to the Lord from the moment of her conception, chosen by him to be an instrument of salvation for the world. “She is the one who, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, most perfectly reflects the divine beauty” (John Paul II, Vita Consacrata 28). For each Little Sister, and for all religious, she is the model of consecrated life. St. Jeanne Jugan knew from a very early age that God wanted her for himself, for a very special purpose. Each Little Sister has been called by God to follow in her footsteps, to be consecrated in a special way for his work. This is why, every year, here at St. Augustine’s Home, and in every home around the world, each Little Sister of the Poor in temporary or perpetual vows renews with all her heart her profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and hospitality on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
May you all have a Blessed and Joyful Advent season!
photo: Saint Jeanne Jugan pronounces her perpetual profession on December 8, 1854.