Our Visit With The Little Sisters of the Poor
My wife and I have been interested in the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor since we first met several of them at a March for Life in Washington DC a few years ago. They are an order of nuns founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan whose mission is to care for the elderly poor. Being a geriatrician and working with the poor in Haiti, their work is near and dear to our hearts.
It turns out that they have a home for the poor elderly in Scranton, Pennsylvania - only one and a half hours north of us. Several months ago we reached out to them to schedule a visit and today was the visit. It started with celebrating holy mass with the Sisters and the patients in their home. We then had a tour of the facility. These sisters and their staff do the work of God. They treat the elderly and infirm with such love and dignity I rarely see in my field of geriatrics. They continue to carry on the work of their founder with much joy treating each patient as Jesus Christ himself.
The time for the delay of the HHS mandate ended January 1st and Supreme Court Justice Sotamayor granted an injunction for the sisters to avoid being fined. It is particularly agregious to see that the Justice Department yesterday, under the orders of the Whitehouse, decided to file a brief to end Justice Sotamayor's injunction. The sisters will now be facing fines of millions of dollars since they will refuse to sign a paper that essentially gives permission to a third party insurer to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion services. (As an aside, Notre Dame University, signed the paper.)
Instead of being able to care for the poor and elderly, the sisters now face closing their thirty facilities across the country because President Obama refuses to offer an exemption to the sisters, completely violating their freedom of religion. Mother Maureen, the head of the Scranton sisters told us they are hopeful that this will be resolved without having to shut down. Despite this crisis looming over them, Mother Maureen is asking for prayers, not just for this issue but for an increase in vocations to carry on their work for the poor! All the Little Sisters wish to do is to be able to continue to offer love and support to the Least of These in our society, the poor and the elderly. See this short video to understand their work a little better.
Please keep the Little Sisters of the Poor in your prayers.
Saint Jeanne Jugan, intercede on behalf of your sisters that they would be given freedom to continue to carry on the work you inspired them to do. Amen.
PS1. At the end of our visit, the sisters gave my wife and I each a medal that was blessed at the canonization of Sister Jeanne Jugan in Rome in 2009. Wow!
PS2. We ran into Father Charles O' Conner, who is on many EWTN teaching series!