Philadelphia's Little Sisters of the Poor show true meaning of caregiving

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Philadelphia's Little Sisters of the Poor show meaning of caregiving
As we look ahead to National Caregivers Day, see how the Little Sisters of the Poor treat the elderly like family in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- National Caregivers Day is celebrated on the third Friday in February each year. But caring for the elderly is a daily mission for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

"When I was a young girl, I enjoyed visiting my grandparents. I was very close with them," said Sister Maria Catherine. "And so, I was always inspired to help other people and to take care of the elderly."

Sister Maria Catherine, a registered nurse, has spent 13 years with the Little Sisters of the Poor and only recently moved to Philadelphia. She shares a roof with elderly residents at the Holy Family Home in Kingsessing, where she provides care and serves meals.

One of those residents is Dorothy Gomes, who was a nurse in Philadelphia. She is now on the receiving end of the care she once provided for decades.

"The Little Sisters of the Poor are wonderful, and they're very well groomed in caring for people. And they do a very good job," said Gomes. "God blessed us for being able to come to a place like this."

That place in particular is about to get a huge upgrade over the next couple of years. Construction is underway on a $45 million addition to the campus. Roughly $30 million in funds have already been secured from the likes of donations and grants. But the need is still towering over the heads of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

"We have reached out to all of our own donor base, but we are going beyond our donor base and trying to make new friends," said Sister Veronica Proffitt, who is the beggar and development coordinator. "We're trying to invite as many people as possible and that will enlarge the capability to complete this project."

The project will feature many amenities such as private bathrooms and easier access to the chapel, toiletry shop, and healthcare services.

Sister Veronica Proffitt says they will continue to offer the best care before and after the project is complete, as it is in keeping with their mission.

"Each Little Sister is who she is as a Little Sister because God has called us, invited us to be totally his," she said, "To give our life to him in the service of the elderly."

To learn more about the Little Sisters of the Poor and how to get involved, visit their website.

RELATED: North Philadelphia woman calls on friends to serve seniors and veterans

Dr. Shirlana Dash was accustomed to cooking for a crowd. But a few years ago, she decided there was room for senior citizens and veterans at the table.