The Little Sisters of the Poor and Sister St. Jeanne Jugan: Background information when reading The Ninth Hour

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Ninth Hour

A Novel

by Alice McDermott

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott X
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
Buy This Book

The Little Sisters of the Poor and Sister St. Jeanne Jugan

This article relates to The Ninth Hour

Print Review

The nuns in The Ninth Hour belong to an order that appears to be similar to the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order with humble beginnings, founded by Sister St. Jeanne Jugan, also known as Sister Mary of the Cross. Jugan was born in Brittany, France in 1792, amid the hardships of the French Revolution, a time when Catholics were being persecuted. Her mother provided her with religious instruction in secret, and Jeanne joined the Third Order of St. John Eudes where she worked as a nurse.

Sister St. Jeanne Jugan In the winter of 1839, Jeanne had a fortuitous encounter with an ailing elderly woman named Anne Chauvin. Seeing the woman was badly in need of care, Jeanne brought her home to her own apartment, which she shared with two other women. From that day forward, Jeanne continued to take in the aged and infirm until their numbers required greater space, which she acquired in 1841 in the form of a spare building in a nearby convent. Jeanne's mission attracted numerous followers and by 1850, over 100 women were serving under what had become the Little Sisters of the Poor.

In 1843, however, there was a restructuring of the Little Sisters organization, and Jugan was forced out of her position as superior by Father Augustin Marie Le Pailleur. Jugan would die without receiving proper credit for the founding and advancement of this remarkable order. She passed away in 1879 in obscurity. The Little Sisters, unaware of her legacy, failed to acknowledge her as founder, as Le Pailleur had taken this title for himself. In 1890, the Church launched an investigation into the matter and Le Pailleur was reprimanded and removed from his position, Jugan restored to her proper place in history.

The Little Sisters of the Poor first came to America from France in 1868, and established thirteen homes in four years, including the one in Brooklyn that serves as a setting for The Ninth Hour. Shortly thereafter, homes were established in Cincinnati, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Louisville, Boston, Cleveland, and finally, Washington D.C. There are currently 27 Little Sisters of the Poor locations operating in the United States catering to the needs of the elderly and impoverished. Jeanne Jugan was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and canonized as a saint in 2009.

Having met Jeanne Jugan in 1846, novelist Charles Dickens remarked, "There is in this woman something so calm, and so holy, that in seeing her I know myself to be in the presence of a superior being. Her words went straight to my heart, so that my eyes, I know not how, filled with tears."

Article by Lisa Butts

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Ninth Hour. It originally ran in September 2017 and has been updated for the September 2018 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: An American Summer
    An American Summer
    by Alex Kotlowitz
    As a Chicagoan, I've become used to the most common reactions when I'm traveling and tell someone ...
  • Book Jacket: The Sun Is a Compass
    The Sun Is a Compass
    by Caroline Van Hemert
    Caroline Van Hemert fell in love with her future husband, Pat, in 2001, discovering they shared a ...
  • Book Jacket: Women Talking
    Women Talking
    by Miriam Toews
    Miriam Toews' Women Talking is a circadian novel, unfolding over a span of just a few hours and ...
  • Book Jacket: Confessions of an Innocent Man
    Confessions of an Innocent Man
    by David R. Dow
    It is circumstance that carries the wave that sweeps trendy Houston restaurateur Rafael Zhettah to ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard

    A master storyteller at the height of his powers, delivers a page-turning tale of love, longing, and forbidden possibilities.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Women Rowing North

The instant New York Times bestseller

A guide to wisdom, authenticity, and bliss for women as they age.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.