Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Little Sisters of the Poor

If you want something uplifting to read, Andrew has a really beautiful article on Sr Jeanne du Coeur Immaculée, a Little Sister of the Poor who is celebrating her golden jubilee.

When asked about her cheery outlook in life, Sr Jeanne who looks at least two decades younger than her age smiled and said:

“I always talk to God and tell him everything. It’s the same as talking to a friend.

“If I have any secret to my happy life as a nun, it’s that I always turn to God – always,’ chuckled Sr Jeanne, her eyes twinkling merrily.

I really love the Little Sisters of the Poor. As a seminarian, I visit many retirement and nursing homes. Most give an acceptable physical care, although one I used to visit was closed down and another had its matron disciplined by the nursing council for neglect. Some actually give very good care. Most, however, have a fairly bleak atmosphere. Few of the staff are working there because they feel a vocation to caring for the old. Often the residents are sat on a chair in a room full of other people and stay there, doing nothing for the whole day. These are people who are still mentally alert, yet they're treated as if they're somehow less than that.

The Little Sisters' homes, by contrast, are amazing. You immediately sense the profound love the Sisters have for each resident. They provide an enormous range of activities for those who can participate, and wonderful smiles and affection for those who can't. They have daily Mass in their Chapel for those who can attend, and often have a camera fitted so that those who can't attend can watch the Mass on a TV in their room.

I have met many Little Sisters, in several of their homes. They all radiate a joy and energy that comes from their great love of the Lord, and time spent in adoration. Their compassion is a competent one - they are never afraid of doing the difficult aspects of caring for the elderly, and doing so in a way that preserves their dignity.

May the Lord inspire new vocations to the Little Sisters. Blessed Jeanne Jugan - pray for us, that we may grow in love and tenderness to our most fragile brothers and sisters.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks for linking to me.

In Malaysia, besides their regular duties, the Sisters also care for the elderly and retired priests as well. They have 2 large homes, in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, and in Penang, where I live.

With the average age of our priests going up and the number of vocations to the religious life going down, they have a lot of work in front of them.

Their gentleness and genuine concern for the people under their care is really marvellous to behold. It's not just a job to them, but a vocation. I just hope that when I am old, I would be blessed to receive such care.