Little Sisters of the Poor live spirit of saintly foundress

Rebecca Venegoni Tower

“Making the elderly happy, that’s what counts.”

Attributed to Blessed Jeanne Jugan, the statement accompanies correspondence from the Little Sisters of the Poor in St. Louis. Blessed Jeanne is the foundress of the congregation of women religious that today serves more than 13,000 elderly residents in 202 homes in 32 countries, including 30 homes in the United States.

On Oct. 11, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Blessed Jeanne as a saint. She has been called a “saint for old age and every age,” having given herself entirely to the elderly poor. As the U.S. elderly population continues to grow and dignity at the end of life is increasingly threatened, Blessed Jeane is seen more and more as a patron of the elderly.

The St. Louis Residence at 3225 North Florissant Ave. in North St. Louis has about 100 residents and staffs a neighborhood senior center. The sisters have cared for elderly people in St. Louis with limited resources in the spirit of the foundress since 1869.

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