Congregation Receives "People of Life Award"

Several weeks ago Mother Loraine Marie Clare, superior of our Baltimore province, received a letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, informing her that our Congregation had been chosen to receive the “People of Life Award” at their annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference, which was to take place July 27–30, 2014 in Charleston, South Carolina. She was invited to attend a Mass and banquet there Monday evening, July 28, where the Award would be presented.

Two of us traveled south to attend the July 28 Mass at Charleston’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, followed by the banquet at the Francis Marion Hotel. Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., current chairman of the Bishops’ pro-life secretariat, was the homilist at the Mass; he also presented the awards. In his homily he spoke about how the pro-life movement must be a work of mercy that knows how to show equal concern for the unborn child and the mother. “It must be clear that our motivation is love and our context is mercy,” he said, echoing the refreshing teaching of Pope Francis.

Along with our Congregation, two individuals were presented with the annual “People of Life Award” — Sheila Hopkins, immediate past director for social concerns and respect life at the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops; and George Wesolek, director of public policy and social concerns in the archdiocese of San Francisco, who was given the award posthumously and was represented by his wife and daughter. Each of the award winners was introduced by a member of the USCCB pro-life staff.

Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the USCCB, presented our mission and charism, referring to our apostolate as a “round the clock witness to the Culture of Life.” During dinner she had explained to us that the “People of Life Award” winners are chosen by the USCCB staff based on their long-term commitment to the Gospel of Life. Recipients, she said, are often the “unsung heroes” of the pro-life movement. While our stand against the HHS Mandate and all of the publicity it has generated was a factor in their decision to bestow this honor on the Congregation, she said, we were happy to learn that we were also chosen based on our longtime daily service to the most vulnerable elderly.

 Cardinal O’Malley presented Mother Provincial Loraine Marie with the crystal, engraved award, which read:

 People of Life

The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

recognizes the outstanding leadership of

Little Sisters of the Poor

dedicated to serving the elderly and vulnerable

Presented this 28th day of July 2014 at the

National Meeting of Diocesan Pro-Life Directors


“We are a people of life because God, in his unconditional love,

has given us the Gospel of Life … and we are called to act accordingly.”

Saint John Paul II



As daughters of St. Jeanne Jugan we never quite grow accustomed to public accolades, and yet we were pleased to be recognized as “unsung heroes,” a title most befitting our humble foundress!



Senior Saints Trivia (answers)

1. St Bernadette

2. St Augustine

3. 99

4. 120

5. St Catherine of Siena

6. He was rendered mute

7. St Frances Xavier Cabrini

8. St John

9. bakers

10. Jewish

Bonus: "God who establishes," or "he who prepares"

Celebrating Martyrs of the French Revolution

Although it is not on the calendar of the Universal Church, today is the feast day of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. One could wonder what these 16 holy women have to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor, but it becomes clear if we recall the background of our foundress. Saint Jeanne Jugan was born in 1792; she was, therefore, a toddler when the 16 Carmelites from Compiegne, in nearby Normandy, made the sacrifice of their lives for the restoration of peace and order to France. They made this vow at the height of the Great Terror, a particularly violent stage of the French Revolution. They did not die in vain, since the guillotines ceased their terrible slaughter of innocent people ten days after their death.

On his blog, Father Steve Grunow points out the relevance of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne to our current situation as Catholics in our society: "The execution of the Carmelite Sisters of Compiegne is a sign that manifests the necessity of religious freedom as a privileged foundational principle to insure a just social order. It likely became utterly clear to the people of France that a government that would execute 16 nuns for daring to assert that their unique way of life transcended the power of the state to rule and regulate would likely kill anyone. No one would ever be safe. 

"There are forces in our culture and in our world that even right now are pushing with ever greater force against the principle of religious freedom. 

"We owe it to the memory of the 16 Martyrs of Compiegne to resist these forces, and to resist with the same weapons of the Holy Spirit that they employed and that ultimately brought them victory."


Feast of Sts Joachim and Anne














Today is the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin and grandparents of Jesus. At. Anne is the patroness of Brittany, the region of France where Saint Jeanne Jugan was born. Our novitiate in Queens Village, NY is named after St Ann and so is our home in San Francisco.

Have a bit of fun with these senior saint trivia questions (you can find all the answers online, or come back to visit tomorrow)!

Senior Saints Trivia

Today we celebrate the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joachim and Anne are not the only saints who made a difference in their old age. There are many older married saints, widows and widowers among the saints, as we shall see…

1. Joachim and Anne are considered patrons of the elderly, but there are other saints who are identified with the elderly. Which of the following is NOT considered a patron for older persons?

 St Monica                                           St Anthony of Padua

St Jeanne Jugan                                 St Bernadette


2. Until she was an old woman St. Monica prayed for the conversion of her son, who went on to become a saint. Who was her son?


3. How old was Abraham when he became the “father of many nations”?


4. How old was Moses when he died?


5. St. Macrina was a grandmother and 3 of her grandchildren became saints. Which of the following was NOT her grandchild?

                        St. Basil                                          St. Gregory of Nyssa

                        St. Catherine of Siena                       St. Macrina the Younger


6. What happened to the elderly Zechariah when he doubted that his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a child?


7. Which of these saints was NOT a widow?

                        St. Elizabeth Ann Seton                    St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

                        St. Frances of Rome                           St. Elizabeth of Hungary


8. All of Christ’s disciples except one are believed to have died as martyrs. Only one survived into old age. Which one?


9. St. Anne is the patroness of all BUT one of the following. Which one?

                        Quebec and Brittany                                    grandparents

                        bakers                                                       women in labor        


10. What religion were Joachim and Anne?



What does the name Joachim mean?



Happy 80th Jubilee!

On June 20th Sr Marie Mathilde de la Croix, a Little Sister in our community in Washington, D.C., celebrated 80 years of religious profession.  From Mother General we learned that Sr Marie Mathilde is the only Little Sister in our entire congregation with so many years of vows! At 101 years of age, Sister is still quite active, attending daily Mass, participating in community life and always greeting the Residents and staff with a smile.

Sr Marie Mathilde was born into a large, very Catholic family near Bogota, Colombia. She left her native land as a young Sister and has spent almost her whole religious life in the United States. Asked the secret of her long life, Sister Marie Mathilde invariably replies that God has been very good to her. Still young at heart, it is a joy and honor to have her with us!