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Roma Downey's Little Angels View Comments
By John Feister

Downey is best known for her role as Monica on CBS's Touched by an Angel. She knows God's protection in real life, saying, "There are no coincidences."

PEOPLE EVERYWHERE still know her as Monica from TV’s popular Touched by an Angel series. She was the beautiful, sensitive angel with the lilting Irish accent, the star of the show. Over its nine-year
run on CBS, the show touched millions of lives with its simple message: that God has a plan for each of us and watches over us with a loving hand. The TV ratings agreed with what we all know: People long to hear that.

Roma Downey, now a parent of teens, is back with more angels. This time she’s the producer of Little Angels, a fun, animated feature for preschoolers and kindergartners. The DVD series is really aimed at young parents who grew up watching lots of TV and, like it or not, are using the TV to help them occupy their young children’s time. It’s being released as this issue of St. Anthony Messenger goes to press.

Roma invited Friar Jack Wintz and me to her oceanfront home in Malibu, California, where she and her husband, acclaimed producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice), are raising their family, to tell us the story.

As we sit on a backyard patio enjoying a cup of Irish tea, shaded from sun, waves crashing below the cliff at yard’s edge and birds chirping from nearby bushes, Thomas Merton’s No Man Is an Island sitting on a nearby table, Friar Jack and I share a long visit with Roma. She describes the program and its purpose, shows us some samples on her iPad, talks about her own life and some challenges of modern parenting. I couldn’t help but ask her a bit about Della Reese and those Touched by an Angel years, too.

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John Feister is editor-in-chief of this publication. He has master’s degrees in humanities and in theology from Xavier University, Cincinnati.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Jeanne Jugan: 
		<p>Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.</p>
		<p>When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).</p>
		<p>After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.</p>
		<p>Abbé Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890. </p>
		<p>By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009. </p>
		<p> </p>
American Catholic Blog The people who know God well—the hermits, the prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a manipulative mother, but a lover who is more than we dared hope for.

 
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