During the month of August numerous activities were planned by our activities department to help the Residents learn more about Saint Jeanne Jugan and prepare for her feast day. Brittany-themed activities ranged from cooking to crafts to movies.
Weekly Jeanne Jugan crafts included making lavender wands and lavender water (because lavender fields are found all over France, including the cliffs overlooking Mont St. Michel where St. Jeanne worked as a shepherdess), for which we were blessed to receive a donation of fresh lavender from a farm in Washington state; Jeanne Jugan “stained glass” sun catchers and miniature beach scenes made by filling glass ornaments with sand and shells. We also colored drawings of Brittany-related themes, which were then made into a display.
In the culinary domain we baked Breton palets (butter cookies), made crêpes and enjoyed a French wine and cheese tasting party. Other activities included a “virtual” Breton dance festival (via DVD), a history lecture on Jeanne Jugan’s Brittany and a movie entitled The War of the Vendée, about the counter-revolution waged by the Catholics of the Vendée region of France (the southern region of Brittany) against the Revolutionary forces in 1793. Finally, we had a scavenger hunt which took Residents and staff all over the house studying the Jeanne Jugan exhibition and various images related to the Congregation.
On the eve of the feast day the chapel was full for our prayer vigil, which was very prayerful, and which helped everyone to appreciate more deeply Saint Jeanne’s virtues. The month of August culminated in the feast day of our beloved Saint, when Mass was celebrated by Bishop Barry C. Knestout and all of our Resident clergy. At the end of Mass Bishop Knestout presented Mother Mary Michael with the Archdiocese’s 75th Anniversary Cardinal’s Award on behalf of Cardinal Wuerl. The award, presented in a large and beautiful wooden box, consists of a framed marble plaque bearing an image of St. Matthew from Washington’s cathedral, which bears his name. It was given in recognition of our “service to the Church of Washington in promoting the Gospel, upholding the faith and manifesting the Kingdom of God.