The sun is out, the temperature is perfect, and the Little Sisters and staff are standing outside underneath the canopy waiting…watching as each car turns into the driveway. Is it? Can it be? No, not this one! Finally arriving fifteen minutes past the hour of 8:00 A.M. a car approaches and parks in the lot. Our expected guests have finally arrived! It’s August 30, the Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan, and we had the privilege to have Mayor Hugues Fourage of Fontenay le Comte, France along with his wife Dr. Marie Mascle and their daughter Maelle visit us.
Fontenay is the sister-city to Palatine located on the Atlantic coast southwest of Paris. The village of Palatine and Fontanay, France have been in communication with each other for many years. Fontanay produces French bread, high tech electronics and specialized marine yachts. Fontanay is also known for manufacturing high fashion clothing and hats including Chanel products. The Village Hall of Palatine is graced with art painted by an international artist from Fontenay, Jean Chevolleau.
Mayor Fourage very graciously greeted the many Residents, Little Sisters, volunteers and staff who had gathered to welcome him to our Home. Monsieur’s wife Marie, a medical doctor in France, thoughtfully visited Residents on each floor who were unable to attend the welcoming festivities. Their pre-teen daughter Maelle, wearing a big smile throughout the visit, was very happy to be able to travel here with her parents. Speaking fluently in French (that the Little Sisters all studied at the Motherhouse in LaTour, France as young Sisters), they expertly explained the story of St. Jeanne Jugan and the mission of the Little Sisters to Mayor Fourage and his family.
After feasting on scones, donuts, and fruit, Mayor Fourage was presented with a statue of St. Jeanne Jugan, while flowers and bracelets were presented to his wife and daughter.
The visit ended much too soon. Mayor Fourage and his family had a full day of visits around Palatine scheduled, and the Little Sisters and Residents had more celebrating to do on the Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan.