Thousands of elderly poor have a home today because of one remarkable woman.

Saint Jeanne Jugan grew up in a small town in the aftermath of the French Revolution. To support her family, young Jeanne worked as a shepherdess, kitchen maid, and tended the sick at a Civil and Naval Hospital. During these years, she discovered her life’s vocation: helping others.

Inspired by her Catholic faith, Jeanne set out to serve those most in need. She cared for the poor and the elderly as if they were her own family, once even giving up her bed for an old blind woman she found on the street, while she slept on the floor in the attic. Her humility and love of service spread among other young women, and soon the religious community of the Little Sisters of the Poor was born.

Today, 175 years later, the Little Sisters of the Poor is an international Roman Catholic Congregation of Religious Sisters that continues Jeanne’s mission to serve others. The Little Sisters serve more than 13,000 elderly poor in 31 countries around the world. The first home opened in America in 1868 and now there are nearly 30 homes in the U.S. where the elderly and dying are cared for with love and dignity until God calls them home.