Regular readers know I am a big fan of these Little Sisters who do so much for the elderly poor. Their foundress Jeanne Jugan was named a saint this past weekend, along with Fr. Damian of Molokai, St. Francisco Coll and two others.
But I wanted to focus specifically on Jugan’s story and the Sisters who still continue her work. You’ll really enjoy this terrific and uplifting article:
Today, nine sisters, along with about 100 employees and 85 volunteers, serve 88 residents — some in independent living apartments, some in assisted living and others in two levels of nursing care. While the sisters occupy a simple convent on the top floor, the residents enjoy a veritable cruise ship on land.
Behind the plain brick outer walls, the hallways are lined with artwork, the furniture is tasteful and every amenity, from Wii to music therapy, is available to the residents.
Machiko Seto, 80, once worked as a cook for Catholic priests. When she no longer could afford the senior high-rise where she lived in Bethel Park, the manager told her about the Little Sisters home.
“I’m very poor, but I live richly here,” said Ms. Seto, who is in Rome today with other residents, volunteers and one sister from the home. The residents held craft sales and spaghetti dinners to raise money for the trip.Karen Kutzer is a consultant who was brought in to raise $15 million for recent renovations that added the independent living units, updated the nursing floors and added services that included a dental suite and computer room. She was astounded that the Little Sisters have no endowment — by choice.
“Jeanne Jugan’s whole idea was that you can count on God, on the loving care of a father for the poor,” Sister Mary Vincent said. “To get endowments is to get yourself so secure that you don’t need God any more.”