To provide for the needs of the aged poor, our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan, walked the roads of France seeking alms. She asked for money, but also for gifts in kind: food, clothing, wood or whatever was needed to continue her care of the elderly. This tradition of relying on the charity of those in the community continues today. Our two “begging Sisters” as they are known around the home, start their day of collecting at 7:30 each morning. They head out in their donated van, equipped with full refrigeration, to visit their designated donors. It could be the produce market one day, a meat market, a bakery, a creamery or even your local supermarket the next day.
We rely greatly on the generosity of those who support our mission of caring, as we must raise a significant percentage of our annual operating costs. The begging Sisters leave each morning not knowing if they will be greeted with a generous heart or even a friendly smile, but knowing that regardless of their success or lack thereof, there are 86 Residents in need of food, shelter and care. When asked about the difficulty of this task, Sr. Agnes explains that she and Sr. John Elise are motivated by the goodness in people and the presence of God in those they encounter daily. “It is very rewarding to see someone ‘soften’ over time and be genuinely happy to see us, whether they can donate or not. They understand that we are grateful for even one cent. Our donors have become our friends and our partners. We leave every morning with a joyful heart and return with gratitude for anything in the van,” she says.
“If you like, we could share the poor today. You will provide for their food and I shall take care of them.”