Little Sisters of Poor, seeking alms

Sr. Maria Lourdes, L.S.P. makes her First Profession of Vows

Some of you may remember Sr. Maria Lourdes from her appearance on In the Arena a few months back. Making the acquaintance of Sr. Lourdes, Sr. Camille and Sr. Mary Richard was a memorable day; all three women were lit with uncommon joy and were so lovely to talk to. Sr. Lourdes stayed in my awareness (and my prayers) because she was so serenely composed, even when discussing her excitement that “if it pleases God,” she would soon be making her first vows as a religious.

Well, the big day was July 18. NET-TV had their cameras there and filed a really lovely and moving feature for their news broadcast (it is the first story):

The composure of these young women, who are choosing a very counter-cultural way of life, is very striking, isn’t it?

A day earlier, four postulants had become novices, receiving their veils and their names-in-religion, and four first year postulants moved into their second year (most religious orders require one “canonical” year and one “apostolic” year in the novitiate before first vows are made). You can see some of them behind the four newly professed sisters, here.

“You called me Lord, Here I am!”

Sr. Mary Richard was kind enough to forward these snapshots to me, and shares the excellent news that the community will be receiving 5 or 6 postulants to enter in October. “God is so good,” she writes.

The Charism of the Little Sisters of the Poor is primarily one of hospitality to needy senior citizens, aged 60 or over (given the times, how very important it is to communicate to our elderly, particularly if they are ill or financially strapped, that they are valuable and lovable!). They call it, The Art of Accompaniment, to “accompany elderly people of limited means, from the moment they first seek us out, until the moment of their death.” With this in mind, the Little Sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and specific to their mission, hospitality. “We employ our strength and spend our lives in the service of the aged.” Their 2,700 sisters serve over 13,000 elderly residents in 202 homes, worldwide.

Because I had asked her if there was a particular need within the community Sister Mary Richard alerted me to a small-but-important goal they’re trying to reach:

…we are in need of raising $4,000 to send novices and a Little Sister to the canonization of our Mother Foundress Jeanne Jugan in Rome on October 11! Each of our Homes is selling cookies, etc. to send Little Sisters and elderly Residents to Rome, but we don’t have the possibilities and contacts here in the novitiate that our Homes have. Any help would be more than appreciated. The young Sisters who attend the canonization will never forget this event, and will pass down their memories to younger generations—to keep the spirit of Jeanne Jugan alive!”

The incredibly inspiring story of their Foundress, Jeanne Jugan is here, and yes, she was something else! If you are inclined to help make this dream come true for these sisters and some of their residents, you can send a donation here:

Little Sisters of the Poor
St Ann’s Novitiate
110-39 Springfield Blvd
P.O. Box 280356
Queens Village, NY 11429-2513
Phone: (718) 464-4920

The Little Sisters of the Poor are remarkable women being Christ to a segment of our population that is often overlooked – older people who may in the near future become further detached from our increasingly utilitarian society, where if you’re not contributing to the tax base, how important can you be, and a bureaucrat looking at your file will decide whether you get medical treatment or not. I love these sisters, and their life-affirming, humanity-serving mission. The economy is scary, but we all know the value of sharing the mites in hard times; I hope you will consider making any small donation you can, to help them out. If you’ve been considering making a donation to this site, it would please me enormously to know you have made it to the Little Sisters, instead.

You know what the best thing about giving alms to nuns is? They give you the greatest receipt ever: they pray for you!

President Bush meets Little Sisters of Poor
Little Sisters of the Poor; With Incredible Love (pdf)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Gordon

    They call it, The Art of Accompaniment, to “accompany elderly people of limited means, from the moment they first seek us out, until the moment of their death.”

    What is really sick is that the euthanasia monsters use almost that exact same phrase to make themselves sound “holy” for convincing sick and lonely people to kill themselves, and/or for accompanying them to places like the Netherlands or Switzerland to be put down like dogs.

    Especially the mob who run out of the UK and take groups on ‘one-way trips’ to Switzerland, who call themselves “Dignitas,” I’ve heard their PR people use almost identical wording.

    Knowing how Obama admires the European “healthcare” model, and reading stories like this about what many Europeans congratulate themselves for as “dignified end-of-life care”

    I will certainly be doing what I can to help the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    Thank you so much for writing this lovely post. Bless you.

    [People seem to forget that the very old and the very ill are still able to do something great for the whole world simply by virtue of their ability to pray, which is a powerful contribution to our good -admin]

  • Dymphna

    My aunt is a Little Sister of the Poor in France and has been so for 50 years.

  • Bridget

    The Little Sisters are one of the most beautiful orders… we are so blessed to live nearby one of their homes and have witnessed their love of God through their amazing care of the elderly, the hospitality extended to all who pass through the doors, and the ever present smile for each person. They have enriched my life, and the lives of my family and I love them! If you ever have a chance to visit one of their homes, either for Mass or to volunteer, run, don’t walk. You will not regret it.

  • Andrew B

    What a lovely story, and what beautiful, faith-filled, brave young women.

    Although a Protestant, I have always had a very special place in my heart for Catholic Religious. Perhaps it came from my father, whose mother had been nursed in her final days by the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor. My father never forgot, and he continued to send small offerings to the Sisters until his dying day. He was a pillar of the Episcopal Church, but his highest praise was always reserved for the nuns who had helped ease his mother’s journey to Heaven.

    God bless these sisters and all who follow a similar path.

  • Dean

    I pray that the Little Sisters will see a marked increase in vocations. The Mary Joseph Home for the elderly here in New Orleans, run by the Little Sisters, was shut down a few years back and the few remaining sisters are aging and dwindling in numbers. You are right in that they are sweet, serene, and joyful.

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  • JuliB

    Tomorrow I am going to dinner at my mom and dad’s house. They are non-believers, and are serving beef. I do my best to abstain from meat on Fridays, but it appears unlikely that I can do so politely. I had asked God for a substitute penance – almsgiving to someone I hadn’t considered before.

    And you posted this on Thursday…. Rest assured a (small) donation will be sent in tomorrow’s mail.

    This post’s timing is a little unsettling though….

    [Yes, for some reason this blog does have a weird synchronicity going on with your life, I think! :-) I'm sure the sisters will be grateful of any help you can manage! (And you'll get those good nun prayers - nothing better!) Admin]

  • Fr. Steve

    It is great to see that they have a good stream of young vocations. God bless them!

  • Dominic

    If anyone has never encountered these sisters, please go visit one of their homes (and bring a young discerning woman with you). At least the home I have worked at in San Francisco is the cleanest, most peaceful and loving home for the elderly I have ever seen. The residents are taught by the sisters that they still have a critical vocation in their lives: a vocation to prayer! They are not just homes for the elderly poor, they are powerhouses of prayer that affect the lives of everyone. In that way, they already support all of us.

    If you are reading this, God may very well be calling you to give alms. Ask Him if He’s not also calling you to serve Him with the Little Sisters of the Poor in an even deeper way!

  • Kathleen

    Thank you so much Anchoress. This story is absolutely beautiful and timely. I will keep the good sisters in my prayers and send them a donation as soon as possible.

    You do wonderful work keeping us laity up to date on all of the good work of religious out there. I love to come by and read your posts such as this. It keeps me sane, grounded and thankful that the holy spirit continues no matter how crazy the world is. God Bless you!

  • SKay

    Thank you for this wonderful post .

  • P. McGrath

    Some years ago I heard a story about the Little Sisters that may be apochrophal … certainly anecdotal … anyway, here it goes:

    A very well-to-do gentleman, hearing of the excellent care that the Little Sisters provided, wanted to have his own mother under their care. The rich man told the Little Sisters that he would spare no expense to have his mother served by Jeanne Jugan’s daughters.

    The Little Sisters turned him down. Their reasoning: Giving a bed to this affluent woman will mean that we will have to deny a bed to a poor woman. That would violate everything that we stand for. And on that point they would not be budged.

  • Dr. Bob

    Thanks for the education. Didn’t know there really was a Little Sisters of the Poor, what their mission is and how devoted they are to it. Remarkable.

    Prior to this post my only knowledge was that they were frequently used in a reference to really bad sports teams – e.g “This team is so bad, they couldn’t beat the Little Sisters…”


  • Mary C.

    I have always had a great love for the Little Sisters of the Poor since my teenage years when I used to go to the “home” and help out as a volunteer. The love and care with which they serve the elderly is far and above any place I have ever seen. I thank God that many young women continue to respond to the call to this wonderful mission. Thanks for this inspiring post!