Stopping by to see the Little Sisters
By Lauren Clem, Advisory Council Member
Like many of those connected with Jeanne Jugan Residence in one way or another, I’ve missed visiting the Home over the past few months. As a member of the Advisory Council, I’m used to making regular visits to meet with other council members and check in on the life of the Home, which are always wonderful thanks to the hospitality of the Little Sisters. I was blessed to be able to attend Ash Wednesday Mass with the Residents in the chapel, which was the last time I entered the Home prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
One thing remains certain during these uncertain times, and that is the generosity of others. After reading the most recent newsletter, in which Sister Mary Vincent explained how her “begging” operations have been affected by COVID-19, I decided to put out a call to friends and family. In a message on social media, I explained that the Little Sisters are always in need of donations, but especially now during this time, and included a list of the items that Mother Patricia Mary had identified as “urgent needs.”
The response was overwhelming. I received many offers of items to donate to the Home, and still more offers of money to purchase additional supplies. Many of the offers came from individuals I did not expect, including old social media friends I had not seen in person for several years. Several told me they had been feeling disconnected during COVID-19 and were glad to be able to reach out and help someone else in some way.
I spent an afternoon driving around the state with my boyfriend (who has always generously allowed himself to be recruited to any efforts on behalf of the Little Sisters) picking up donations from individuals’ front porches. In order to practice social distancing, we asked friends to leave their donations outside and made one drop-off to the Home later that day. The offers continued to pour in, and we made a second trip the following weekend.
In the end, we delivered approximately $450 worth of toiletries and food items and another $450 in cash donations. Though not large in the grand scheme of needs for a Home of this size, we’re hopeful these donations will help to get the Sisters and Residents through COVID-19.
The best part of the afternoon was getting to have a brief visit with the Sisters when they met us at the door of the Home (in a downpour, no less) to collect the items. After many months apart, it was wonderful to see them. The Little Sisters have always had a unique way of facing any challenge cheerfully and with a sense of calm that reminds you of their complete faith in the Lord, and the current crisis is no exception. After a few brief words, we headed back out into the rain, glad we were able to help in some small way.
My thanks goes out to everyone who donated and made this effort possible, including Debbie G., Mary G., Ariel S., Kristen G., Caitlyn C., Katie P., Monique C., Marc L., Tom and Lisette C., Muriel C., Jameson C. and Stephanie H., Vincent B., Kim D., Michelle G., Dolores D., Jon and Holly G., Ethan S., Chris F., Karen C., Pete C., and Sue and Gary R. And, of course, to the Little Sisters who continue doing their good work every day. You bring the rest of us hope, and we look forward to reuniting with all of you after these crazy times!