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Little Sisters of the Poor reach out to elders

Our nation's elderly and poor have a home with the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Our nation's elderly and poor have a home with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Catholic nuns have always had compassion beyond compare. They get involved in situations that make most other individuals uncomfortable to say the least, while some folk just turn and walk away to avoid even having slight knowledge about those situations.

One group of nuns is entitled the Little Sisters of the Poor and they are situated right here in Palatine, Illinois at the St. Joseph’s Home on 80 West Northwest Highway. Their ‘job’ if you will is taking care of elderly seniors that are financially incapable of taking care of themselves.

One story a sister spoke about at St. Michael was about a particular man hoping to be able to have a spot in their home for the poor. This seventy-something man had been living in a homeless shelter when he was able to get a bed and was simply hoping for a bed to call his own once again as he continued through his elder years.

He has met with the sister and discussed the physical examination that was required in order to get a room at the inn and once that was established, the sister got him to where he could take a shower, gave him fresh new clothes and fed him a hot meal. He was so happy to be clean and spoke to the sister about how long it had been since he had had a hot meal. Her heart melted at his admission of truth.

When he was done eating, he departed for the shelter and the plan was that the sister would pick him up for his physical on Monday morning. He asked that she not come into the shelter as he feared for her safety.

When she arrived, the man was not on the street as he had promised, but the sister did not worry because she was a little early. But after 30 or more minutes, she parked and went to the doors of the shelter. She asked for the man by name and was told that he had died the evening he had left their home.

She was mortified to hear it and inquired where he was to be buried. The man she spoke to told her that no one stepped forward to claim the man’s body and he was at the local morgue until a free grave was available. She knew right then and there that he was still her responsibility.

So, she attempted to contact his one living relative; a brother that had not spoken to the man for over 20 or so years and refused to help bury him, as he wanted nothing to do with him in life or death. So, the sister arranged for their last free burial plot to be given to the man.

He was given a wonderful funeral in which 10 (TEN!) priests said his funeral Mass. He was remembered by those that did not even really know him. How many of us will be able to say the same thing?

So, as you contemplate this shared story, think what you can do for the poor, the lonely, the elderly today. Maybe you are not Catholic, so what? Maybe you’ve never been a philanthropist, who cares? The point of the story is to make you think. If those women that have sacrificed their life for Christ are willing to give more than they have, why not you?

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