Little Sisters of the Poor: A Legacy of Care
The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international congregation of Roman Catholic women founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan in France. Together with a diverse network of collaborators, they serve the elderly poor across the country and the world, including the city of Pittsburgh.
In April 1872, the Little Sisters of the Poor were invited to establish a home to care for the elderly in Pittsburgh by the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The first seven sisters to arrive were warmly welcomed by Pittsburgh’s Bishop Domenec and given a small Home for their use in what was called Allegheny City at the time (now known as Pittsburgh’s North Side).
As the number of elderly in their care grew, an additional home was erected in 1885 along Penn Avenue in Garfield. A second larger home was opened in 1923 on Benton Avenue (still active today!) in the city’s Brighton Heights neighborhood, which replaced the home in Allegheny City that the Sisters initially founded. The Sisters operated the two homes until 1971, when they consolidated services and closed the Penn Avenue home. A new nursing home wing added to the Benton Avenue site was completed in 1972, 100 years after its inception. With the help of the community, an updated nursing building was added in 2004 and an independent living building was opened in 2007. Last year the Sisters celebrated 150 years of serving the elderly poor of Pittsburgh.
Little Sisters of the Poor has had a tremendous impact on the region, caring for more than 12,000 elderly poor of every race and religion. Today, their home provides a continuum of care, from their independent living apartments, daily meals in a group setting, and long-term nursing care with nurses and aides available 24 hours a day. Thanks to this ministry, elderly Pittsburgh residents are able to maintain their dignity and quality of life as they receive compassionate care in their twilight years.
Little Sisters of the Poor thrives with help from loyal donors who give at every level, organize fundraisers, or take collections at their respective businesses. To get involved, volunteer, or donate items from their wish list, please visit littlesistersofthepoorpittsburgh.org. Thank you.
Story and Photography by Little Sister’s of the Poor
Subscribe to TABLE Magazine‘s print edition.