I first met the Little Sister of the Poor back in 1972 when I was in the 8th grade. The Little Sisters came to my grade school to talk about their mission at St. Michael’s Home for the Elderly. They brought with them two Residents who were absolutely charming and delightful. They asked if anyone would be interested in coming to help them for a weekend. My girlfriend and I volunteered for the weekend and we both fell in love with the Residents.
At the time when we started going to the Home the Sisters had maybe one or two employees. The Sisters did all the work and we were there to help them. Imagine thirteen year old girls putting old people to bed, feeding, soaking feet, scrubbing floors, watching with the dying. I could go on and on. When we were working side by side with the sisters, we could just see the love in the old people’s eyes and it was mirrored in the eyes of the Sisters. Nothing was too much for them.
The elderly have their own personalities, fears and hopes. Age does not diminish one’s humanity. I have been inspired by many elderly who have weathered illness, death of a loved one, poverty and alienation during their lives and have still kept the faith.
The Little Sisters have always been a big part of my life. They are my extended family and many of them have watched me grow from a teen to a young woman. As a kid, there were eight or nine of us who faithfully came to the home every weekend to help the sisters. We had our own dormitory called, “Three and one half,” and there we would spend our weekends giving the Sisters grey hair. To this day the nine of us are still very close, and when we get together, we have many a laugh about our days at the home.
I do not know where my path would have taken me had I not been blessed with meeting the Little Sisters. They have been there for me whenever I needed them. The Little Sisters will always have a special place in my heart and I can never thank them enough. They have eased many a family’s burden.