Little Sisters of the Poor

September 24, 2009

If you live in Enfield you have probably heard of the Little Sisters of the Poor and their St. Joseph’s Residence and are familiar with the tremendous work they do for our elderly population. Saint Joseph’s Residence, located on the corner of Enfield Street and Post Office Road, is a wonderful home for those of low income who are in need of assisted living and special care. They have 80 residents, several of them over 90 years old, including Mary Falzone who turned 100 on September 3rd. The Little Sisters work tirelessly to provide the best possible care, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Mother Mary Bernard, Sister Mary Agnes and the St. Joseph’s Residence Advisory Board and shared with them some things happening on the state level in regards to elder care. At my request Mag Morelli from the Connecticut Association of Not-for-Profit Providers for the Aging was also in attendance and shared updates on some things she has been looking into for the Little Sisters.

While the legislature was working with a very limited budget this year, we were able to come up with some new programs that directly benefit seniors. One of the programs I’m excited about and worked hard to move through both the House and Senate is the Silver Alert System. The new alert system will work in cooperation with the Department of Public Safety’s missing children alert system to recover missing seniors. Another important bill we passed requires all nursing home facilities to provide pain management training to their employees so that they can better detect when a resident is in pain and provide relief. We also worked to expand eligibility for seniors with limited incomes to obtain financial assistance for assisted living.

Thankfully, for the many elderly adults who need assisted living but lack financial means, the Little Sisters of the Poor in Enfield has made it their mission to provide a home for these individuals at St. Joseph’s Residence. Jeanne Jugan founded the Little Sisters of the Poor over 150 years ago to serve the poor elderly population in France. Since that time, the Little Sisters has grown to be an important part of societies all over the world and now runs over 200 homes for the elderly of modest income. The Little Sisters shared with me last week that Jeanne Jugan is to be canonized for all that she has done to help the poor on October 11th of this year.

It was truly a pleasure to meet with the Little Sisters and their Advisory Board. Even in a difficult economy the faith of the Little Sisters of the Poor is unwavering. And who could wonder why? As their foundress the Blessed Jeanne Jugan said after urging quiet prayer in the face of adversity: “And then go, and don’t worry about how you are going to manage. That you have told God about it is enough. He has a good memory.”

The Little Sisters in Enfield have several fundraising events coming up that will provide an opportunity to contribute financially to their mission of supporting the poor. On October 3 from 8-12 there will be a pancake breakfast and fall plant and pumpkin sale at St. Joseph’s Residence. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and children 12 and under. A golf tournament is scheduled for Monday, October 5th and they will also be holding and essay contest this fall. Please contact the Sisters for additional details.