Little Sisters of the Poor

On June 2-3, 2012 the Superior General, Ronald D. WITHERUP, accompanied the Provincial of the U.S. Province of Sulpicians, Father Thomas ULSHAFER on a visit to the little village of Saint-Pern in Brittany in order to meet with the Little Sisters of the Poor at La Tour Saint Joseph.

Our host for the two days was Mother Celine of the Visitation, the Superior General of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Mother Celine hails from San Francisco and has been Superior General of the order since 1997. This worldwide community serves the elderly poor on five contents and in some 25 countries. They also care for numerous elderly Sulpicians, especially in their residence near Baltimore, Maryland, home to the American Sulpicians.

Fathers Ulshafer and Witherup, with Mother Celine and Mgr Marcus

This brief visit also afforded a fraternal visit to our Sulpician confrere, Mgr Emile MARCUS, Archbishop Emeritus of Toulouse. Nearly 82 years old, Archbishop Marcus maintains an active schedule as chaplain of the Little Sisters and a formator at the Charles de Foucauld House, which is a propaedeutic program in the Archdiocese of Rennes housed on the extensive property of the Little Sisters.

Icon of Sainte Jeanne Jugan

A highlight of the visit was the opportunity to concelebrate Mass in the crypt of the beautiful chapel, where the remains of Saint Jeanne JUGAN (1792-1879), founder of the Little Sisters, are entombed. Saint Jeanne Jugan was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, a ceremony attended by Father Witherup and Sulpician representatives from Baltimore. The Little Sisters have spiritual connections to the French School of Spirituality, especially through their contact with the spirituality of the Eudists and Saint Jean EUDES (1601-1680), who shared with Sulpician founder Father Jean-Jacques OLIER (1601-1657) many of the same spiritual tendencies.

Father Ulshafer in the long hallway

Father Witherup and Mother Celine in front of La Tour Saint Joseph