By Tina Dam, University of Denver, Class of 2011
The Little Sisters of the Poor/Mullen Home is a place where the elderly poor find solace in the love of the Lord, and through the immense dedication of service, charity, and hospitality of the Little Sisters who have the beautiful role of caring not only for the physical, but also for the spiritual needs of the Residents. These Sisters continue to attract young volunteers who come again and again to relive with them the spirit that comes from their Mother Foundress St. Jeanne Jugan, her radiant witness of joy and loving service.
The Residents enjoy seeing new faces when they interact with college students and other young people who have so much to learn from the elderly. Let’s listen to their reflections…
Theresa Schiano, a Resident at the Mullen home for five years and counting with her husband, Dominic, says of the young people who come to help, “I think that they are fantastic, caring, pleasant, helpful, understanding, and so willing to listen.” She joyfully greets the young volunteers, and blesses them with her words upon their departure. And says Mary Gietl in regard to the gift of their time and service to the residents and the Home, “It is very noble of them.”
Doree Hutchinson asks the Sisters: “How do you do it? How do you find such wonderful young people? They are so amazing! It makes me so happy to see them—and they remember my name!” And Resident priest Fr Jan Mucha echoes: “Where do you find them? Where do you find them all? You find such good ones!” The college students treasure receiving Father’s blessing upon their departure.
Harriett Byrd, who has been at the Mullen Home for over a year now, likewise enjoys the service and friendship that the young volunteers are able to bring to the Residents’ life, as she says, “I think they’re wonderful, they’re a joy. There have been lots of them since I’ve been here.” Harriett, an accomplished pianist, delights in giving them piano lessons, and can sometimes be seen with one on either side of her on the piano bench.
Says Katherine Lesley, a Resident of the Little Sisters’ apartments: “It makes me feel very proud that we have so many young people faithful to the Catholic Church; it’s rewarding. They are not afraid to rise above the culture, to go to Mass, and to be witnesses. I feel so good when I see them….It’s like a continuation of what we older people have lived…”
And Joseph Padilla, another apartment Resident, eagerly approached one of the Sisters to convey his impressions: “They say miracles don’t happen anymore,” related Joseph, “but as long as there are such wonderful young people as the ones who come here, miracles will never die out.”
The mutual blessings that young and old are able to bring to one another are all in the divine plan of the Lord. For he humbles the youth in the presence of the elderly poor, in whom they encounter Christ, and the elderly are likewise able to witness the love of Christ to the young.
“Always remember: The poor are Our Lord.” (St. Jeanne Jugan)