If God has gifted you with a love for the poor and a desire to know him more deeply, he may be offering you the precious gift of a vocation to consecrated life. We’d be happy to speak to you and accompany you in your discernment. With the ever-increasing population of older persons, our vocation is more important than ever. Saint Jeanne Jugan often said, “What happiness for us to be a Little Sister of the Poor!” We feel the same way today, and we are eager to share our joy with you.
Check out our national website to read more about our consecrated life and our mission of hospitality to the elderly poor.
• Find the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor nearest you. Arrange to visit us for Mass, or another moment of prayer, and a tour of the Home. Contact us at email@example.com, or call (215) 729-5153.
• Volunteer some of your time with the elderly.
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a family of four – my parents, twin sister and me. I was raised Catholic, and as a kid I was in awe of God, especially of how He made everything in the world, but I thought of Him as someone I would meet at the end of my life. I remember thinking as a child that God would want me to be a sister and to take care of the sick, and I wished I could, but I had never met a religious and it didn’t seem like something I could actually do, so I was sure God would understand. By the time I was in high school this idea was off my radar.
My first year of college I attended Mass only a few times. My sister kept telling me, “God is real! Read your Bible! Come with me to Church! You don’t know what you are missing!” I did think God probably existed, and couldn’t imagine what she thought I was missing. Then one day I put my iPod on “shuffle” and the hymn, “Be Thou my Vision” started playing. I had bought this song after I heard it at my Grandfather’s funeral but never played it afterwards. As I listened to the words, I must have made this beautiful prayer my own because God answered it! In that moment I experienced God’s love so clearly that it left no room for doubt either about His existence or about His love for every person.
I became involved in my college’s Catholic Center where I grew in faith and was blessed by the ministry and the example of the religious who were our campus ministers. I started asking God to lead me and let me know His will for my life.
God surprised me with a vocation two years later. I was doing my homework when the Little Sisters of the Poor and their home for the elderly where I had volunteered a year before came to my mind. In that moment I knew God was telling me, “this is what I want for you.” I opened my Bible, and passages like Matthew 19:21, “Go, sell what you have, give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven, then come, follow me,” which had previously made me uneasy now were filling me with joy. I looked at the website of the Little Sisters and when I read the story of our foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, and the charism and mission of our congregation, I could see that God had been preparing me in many specific ways to be able to say, “Yes, this is what I want to do with my life!” The difference this time was that I knew God was there to help me.
Still, it was not what I had been planning, and my family were not expecting it either. My sister and grandmother encouraged me to follow wherever God was leading. For the rest of my family, it took some time to come around to the idea, but I knew that just as God has a loving plan for my life, He has one for each of them too and that He is watching over them and helping them, just as He is helping me.
As a Little Sister of the Poor, my joy is to discover in the elderly, in our collaborators, in my sisters and in each person, from all over the world, the immense family of God, which is also my own!
On August 22, 2021, I made final vows at our Motherhouse, La Tour St. Joseph, in St. Pern, France. We were seven Little Sisters from India, Kenya, Hong Kong, Peru and the United States! I love this quote from St. Jean Eudes: that religious consecration means “to make profession of having but one life, one heart, one soul and one will with Jesus.” That is what I want more than anything! It is a lot. But I know that I can count on His grace, mercy and faithfulness forever.
Silver Jubilee Joy! On July 19, 2022 we celebrated with Sr. Myriam Nazareth, her 25 years of consecration. In keeping with her own wishes, this was first and foremost Jesus’ Jubilee — a celebration of His calling and consecrating and keeping her in his loving care all these years!
Sr. Myriam Nazareth was born in South Korea. Here is her “vocation story” in her own words:
“On my brother’s first birthday our family had a very big party with many people. Everyone was so happy to be together on this occasion. So was I, until I noticed that there were more grandmas than I could count on my four-year-old fingers. Then suddenly a thought crossed my mind: ‘When they become old who will take care of them? They are too many!’ Since that day, this event came back in my dreams from time to time, until I visited Little Sisters of the Poor in their new foundation in Suwon in my home country, South Korea. When I saw the Sisters looking happy to be with happy grandmas, my question was answered and I loved them. Eventually I was very grateful that God called me to be a Little Sister of the Poor. Over the years, I have been happy to see our holy Little Sisters taking care of our Residents with love and accompanying them on their way to Heaven. My problem with there being no one to be there for too many grandmas was resolved, and I am blessed to be part of the solution.”
Now we are blessed to have Sr Myriam here in Philly to be with our Residents at Holy Family Home! When asked “How did you get here?” she answered: “God sent me here for the Residents who would like to have a Korean sister to enrich their multicultural life.” She continued: “While I was working for the Samsung company, the father of one of my friends, who was an employee at the new Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Suwon, asked the young people of his parish to volunteer for the Home. I used to go every Saturday with my friends to help the Sisters.”
Sr. Myriam entered the Little Sisters of the Poor in Cheongju, South Korea, went to our motherhouse in France for her initial formation and professed her first vows there on July 19, 1997. She was then missioned back to Suwon as a Little Sister cook.
Like all Little Sisters, five years later, Sr. Myriam returned to our motherhouse in France for her second novitiate, that is, a year of spiritual preparation for her perpetual vows. She studied theology in Rome after her perpetual vows, and was assigned to the formation of our novices in Suwon, South Korea. She was transferred to the U.S. in 2010 to experience the joys of hospitality in Scranton, PA. Then, after another mission in her homeland, she returned to the U.S. a second time. Sr. Myriam has been part of the community of Holy Family Home since 2020. She arrived with the pandemic! She continues bringing her loving presence to the Residents of the nursing units and accompanying Sr. Veronica on her begging rounds.
At 11 a.m. on July 19, 2022, Sister Myriam’s “Philly Family” of Residents, Little Sisters, Friends, and Jeanne Jugan Associates joined her in offering the Eucharist in thanksgiving for her twenty-five years as a Little Sister of the Poor.
“When I grow up, I want to be a sister; I want to take care of old people.” I found this sentence in a journal I had written when I was about 8 years old, while cleaning up my things before entering the Little Sisters of the Poor in 2007. At 8 years old, I was a typical girl, on a farm in rural Minnesota in a devout Catholic family, but without any real contact with religious sisters or brothers. I learned about sisters from the books my Mom would read us about the saints. Thus, childhood and adolescence passed without any real thought to this childhood aspiration. I did not even remember writing it. As a young woman leaving for college, I had it all planned out- marriage, family, a good job close to home etc… But God, who had bigger plans, was still whispering to my heart when I listened. Attending a Baptist university, challenged me to go deeper in my faith in order to explain to my friends who had lots of questions. I remember telling a friend during this time, that I had the sense that God was calling me to something more, but I did not know what that was.
I became involved with St. Paul’s Outreach and met other young adult Catholics who lived and loved their faith. This encouraged me in my journey. Some of the other young women were actually discerning a religious vocation. Soon I met religious sisters of many different orders and I started to discern religious life myself. The Lord drew me to closer to himself, and I began going to daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration. One evening a group of us young women went to volunteer at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home in St. Paul to serve the meal and play cards with the residents. It was love at first sight. I knew that there was something special there and I needed to go back. Which I did, first volunteering and then working. It was the joy that I found in the sisters and the residents that attracted me. I soon discovered that this love came from Jesus and His Love for them and for me. After graduating from college, I entered as a postulant and the adventure continues.
A little girl once asked me: “Were you born a nun?” Of course, I laughed and shook my head, “No!” On second thought, I should have answered: “Yes, I was born a nun, just like your Mother was born a Mom!” You see, I’m convinced that at conception God lovingly tucks into our genetic package a personal vocation, with all we need included. I believe we are each gifted with what we need for a specific mission to live in His Love and share His Love as nobody else ever could. Listening to vocation stories convinced me that it’s always been there from the beginning but we each become aware of this very personal call, little by little, through attractions, through the unique ways He draws us along to find Himself and discover His will. What appeals to me may not interest you. He has an original genetic blueprint for each one to realize.
For me, the discovery of my particular calling came mainly through the people God placed in my life over the years. Besides the basics, like family and friends and mentors—I was born into a practicing Catholic family in Nativity B.V.M. Parish in Port Richmond. Like the other kids on the block and their parents, my Mom and Dad and my brother and I were educated in parochial schools, and were very influenced by priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia—I had the added advantage of volunteering at the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Germantown for six years. The Sisters and old folks that I knew there were providential persons in my life. They opened me up to finding God in prayer and at work, caring for and about the elderly.
I never had a spiritual director other than Danny whom I met when he asked me to dance, by chance, at “St. Joe’s on a Sunday Night.” Dancing led to dating. Dating led to discussing everything under the sun, which eventually shone light on the Son. Discussing led to discernment that the Lord was calling me to follow Him in the footsteps of Jeanne Jugan. This discernment brought Danny’s gracious response: “Well, I couldn’t lose you to a nicer guy!” So off I went to enter the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Fifty years later, after receiving, in so many places, from so many providential people, precious help to deepen my understanding of my personal vocation within the Church and my religious family, I was stationed back here in Philly and met Danny and his wife at a fundraising event for Holy Family Home! With this chance meeting there welled up in my heart gratitude to God for coming to me and calling me through the people he providentially placed in my life!
The day of a Little Sister of the Poor includes community time for unwinding in two daily get-togethers (AKA “Recreation.”)
Believe it or not, peeling apples can be as much fun as playing Pinochle, challenging each other’s Scrabble skills, or taking a stroll in the yard! In fact, any common project provides great background for sharing stories and talking about happenings of the day.
Besides, we love to feel like we’re contributing to the common good, lightening the work load of the kitchen staff, and “Making the old folks happy” by simply enabling the Residents to enjoy fresh fruits or homemade applesauce!
The joy of a jubilee is in the remembering. The stories of our two of our jubilarians give us double cause for joy:
On December 10th Sister Benedict de St. Vincent marks 75 years of consecrated life. She was originally from New Jersey. Her parents sent her to Boston, MA to study at Emmanuel College. While there, she went as a volunteer to the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Somerville, and God changed her parents’ plans for her! When asked: “What was your first impression of the Little Sisters of the Poor?” Sr. Benedict responded without batting an eyelash: “Loved them!” She sensed that her attraction was a Godsend, so she pursued it, entered the Congregation and professed her first vows on December 10, 1947. Now, 75 years and many missions later, Sr. Benedict responds to the question: “What is your impression of the extended family of the Little Sisters of the Poor now?” with an even stronger affirmative: “Love ‘em even more!” To any young woman who might be seeking to know God’s will for their lives she would say: “Pray & Listen! Scared to follow? Go ahead — He’s worth it!”
On May 2nd we joined Sister Elisabeth de St. Jean Baptist (AKA “JB”) in thanking God for her 60 years of consecration. Right here in Philly is where it all started, so it’s providential to rejoice together, right here! Sr. Elisabeth was born and raised in Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, a few blocks away from Holy Family Home. In her own words: “When I was 15, my girlfriend asked me to come with her to that big home inside the walls at 54th and Chester. I went along for the fun of it, but that was the end of it — I was hooked! The Sisters were nice and very hospitable and made me feel important by asking me to take a Resident for a walk on the grounds or to help serve dinner. I kept going back for more! Only gradually did it hit me that the Lord had something to do with it. Little by little I got to know the Little Sisters and how down-to-earth they were. Little by little it was easier to relate with the old folks and enjoy their company. Little by little I grew in an awareness that the Lord really wanted me to follow him for good. So, when I was 18, three months after graduating from West Catholic High School for Girls, I entered the Little Sisters of the Poor on September 8, professed my first vows May 2, 1962, and here I am, still hanging in, 60 years later! As time passed, I was missioned for various assignments in many different Homes in the U.S. and in each one, I had the same feeling: THIS is what God wants for me! When I would meet young girls searching for their way in life, I would tell them to come and see for themselves if they felt the way I did, and still do: THIS is what God wants for me! Sure, there were times when I thought about “throwing in the towel,” but the Lord always came along with a nudge from a Resident or one of my Little Sisters that would make me realize that would be crazy. THIS is what God wants for me! Yes! It’s wise to “jubilize”, it’s great to celebrate! THIS is what God wants for me!”