As the winter season continues, the Little Sisters of the Poor are relying on God's providence to help their care for the elderly poor, as they always have.
“One of the foundational virtues of our congregation,” Sister Constance Veit told CNA Dec. 20, is “trust in providence.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor were founded by Saint Jeanne Jugan in
France the 1830s to take care of the elderly poor, who had no one else
to look after them. They now operate homes throughout the world, with 30
in the U.S. serving some 2,500 persons.
“There is a line from our Constitutions that keeps coming to mind,
Jeanne Jugan's 'realistic attitude to events in no way prevented her
from discovering in them the action of God,” Sr. Constance said.
“Difficulties never made her doubt his loving solicitude: 'That seems
impossible, but if God is with us, it will be accomplished.' With serene
confidence, she found her support in this certitude.'”
Each of the group's apostolates has a designated “collecting sister”
who visits local businesses, begging for the food, clothing, and other
needs of the elderly poor whom the Little Sisters serve.
Sr. Constance said that the Little Sisters' reliance on providence will
get them through the approaching HHS contraception mandate crisis.
“This is how we are trying to approach this issue at this point, praying that God will resolve this in his time.”
“We are constantly dependent on Providence and the kindness of others to support us.”
Another sister said that this is how the order has always faced its challenges.
Sister Cornelia, the superior at the Sisters' Mullen Home apostolate in
Denver, related a story of St. Jeanne Jugan's first home for the
The saint secured a house in which to care for the elderly, but had no
supplies to go along with it. Her benefactor asked her how she was going
to feed so many people.
Saint Jeanne Jugan replied, “If God fills the house, he will not abandon it.”
“She always prayed for the benefactors, and made sure the residents prayed for them too,” said Sister Cornelia.
“So we have a Mass said every month, and everyday the sisters and the
residents pray for our benefactors, all those who help us in any way.”
Sister Cornelia said that the generosity provided by God at Christmas time “really helps us throughout the year.”
In addition to the donations made to sustain the apostolate throughout
the year, the residents at the home receive visits and presents from
surrounding parishes and schools.
Three parishes, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton, Risen Christ in
Denver, and St. Joan of Arc in Arvada, put up “giving trees” at their
parishes. Parishioners get gifts, which the residents requested on the
giving tree. Then there are a series of parties for the residents.
Also this week, school children came to visit the residents at Mullen
Home. Today kids from Our Lady of the Visitation brought Christmas
ornaments, and on Dec. 18 the children from Our Lady of Lourdes came
Christmas caroling at the home.
“We loved bringing the joy of the coming season to all the residents,” said Our Lady of Lourdes teacher Morgan McGinn.