In Francois Trochu's biography of St. John Vianney, ``The Cure of Ars,'' the Little Sisters of the Poor is mentioned by the Saint to a young girl who wishes to enter that Order at Lyons:

"Yes, my child, you will be a Little Sister of the Poor," M. Vianney one day said to Mlle. Ernestine Durand, a girl of Lyons, then eighteen years of age; "yes, yes, you will be a Little Sister.... But after having joined the community you will be obliged to leave it again." "Oh, in that case, Father, I prefer---" "No, no, enter, enter! Three days after your departure from the convent your mother will take you back to it herself." Ernestine obeyed blindly. Having obtained---with much difficulty, it must be admitted---the consent of her parents, she entered as a postulant with the Little Sisters of the Poor of Lyons. She whole-heartedly took up her new life. Presently letters came from her family, full of regrets and even threats: the girl was not yet of age; she had extorted her mother's consent; if need be, recourse would be had to the intervention of the law. As a matter of fact, her brother came to the convent accompanied by a policeman. The postulant was compelled to return home. She was broken-hearted and lost both appetite and sleep. At the end of three days her mother said to her: ``Oh, I do not mean to bring about your death; I shall take you back to your beloved companions!'' Thus, as the Cure d'Ars had foretold, the child was restored to the convent by her own mother, who, if she were not yet wholly resigned, at least no longer withheld her consent.

Another similar case is also provided by the author Throchu:

Soeur Marie de Jesus, a little novice, saw her profession put off by reason of her extreme youth. In her distress she was allowed to make a pilgrimage to Ars, where she made a general confession. "O my little one, how happy you are!" the saint exclaimed, as she finished her accusation. "True, Father, I am happy, but I have grievously offended God before I entered religion." "My child, in the world you would have committed so many sins that you would have ended by losing your soul. Be true to your vocation." He wished to see her again before her departure. "O my little sister," he said, "your soul is white, perfectly white. And now, go and make your profession." "But, Father, you know very well that I am supposed to be too young...." "Everything is ready, my child: your cross is made. Go!"

Now, at the very moment when Soeur Marie de Jesus crossed the threshold of the Hospice of Lyons, where she had a commission to execute for her superior, the portress handed her a small parcel. "This is for you, Sister." "May I open it?" "Of course." What was the Sister's emotion when, on undoing the parcel, she found a cross, on the back of which were engraved her name and a date; it was the crucifix of her profession. Urged by a mysterious impulse, the superior had suddenly decided to admit to her first vows the novice who had been condemned to a delay of three years. This was the meaning of the words of the Cure d'Ars: "Your cross is made. Go!"

Mgr. Trochu also wrote a full-length biography of Jeanne Jugan (published 1950 or so) prior to her beautification by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and canonization by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

St. Jeanne Jugan's The Little Sisters of the Poor had its beginning in 1839 at Saint-Servan in Brittany and expanded to other parts of France within 10 years. St. John Vianney was assigned as a parish priest to Ars in 1819 (or thereabouts) and died there in 1859.

Ars is over 800 kilometres from Brittany; however, Lyons is some 35 kilometres (approx. 21.7 mi) from Ars.

In light of his work at Ars and his three reported absences from Ars, it seems impossible that St. John Vianney ever visited Brittany as the Cure of Ars.

However, he had certainly been to Lyons on multiple occasions, and perhaps (likely) St. Jeanne Jugan (who founded Little Sisters of the Poor in 1839) had also been to Lyons---as an affiliate of the Little Sisters of the Poor was established there while St. John Vianney was the Cure of Ars.

Also Note: St. Jeanne Jugan outlived St. John Vianney.

It is also to be observed that the charity of St. Jeanne Jugan and St. John Vianney towards the poor are strikingly similar (especially between St. Jeanne's House of the Cross and St. John's Providence); thus, I would like, if possible, to identify an encounter between these two champions of the poor, provided that if one exists.

So I ask: Does anyone know with some degree of certainty if St. Jeanne Jugan ever met the Cure of Ars; and if so, what were the circumstances? Thank you.


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