Little Sisters of the Poor move out after 152 years

Sister Joseph, standing, and her sisterhood are moving out. Picture: Hemedia
Sister Joseph, standing, and her sisterhood are moving out. Picture: Hemedia
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A SISTERHOOD of nuns who have run a care home for the elderly for more than 150 years have had to move on – because they can’t find any young members.

The Little Sisters of the Poor started looking after vulnerable people in Dundee in 1863 after four sisters and two novices travelled over from France.

Last orders: The sisters are moving out. Picture: Hemedia

Last orders: The sisters are moving out. Picture: Hemedia

But after 152 years, the seven remaining sisters, who are in their 70s, are moving on due to their age and a lack of young nuns willing to join their order.

While they relocate to Catholic homes around the rest of the UK, the local diocese will take on the home and look after the remaining residents.

Sister Joseph, the Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said that moving the sisters out of the home had been the hardest thing she had ever done.

She said: “There are about seven sisters left at the moment and we all expect to move out by the end of the week.

“The sisters have been here for 152 years and started out with very little but somehow managed to flourish over time.

“Moving the sisters out of the home is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. I don’t want to do it again.

“The decision to leave Wellburn after 152 years, as you may imagine, was a very painful one for us, but with the decline of vocations and other major factors, we felt after much prayer and reflection that this was the hard decision we had to make.”

Sister Joseph added: “The generosity of the people of Dundee has been outstanding and never failed us, also our friends in Dundee city council who have been truly wonderful throughout this process.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, was founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan.

The order was established to care for the elderly because of a need to look after the many impoverished elderly who then lined the streets of French towns and cities. Its members make vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and a fourth vow of hospitality.

They are one of the larger religious institutes of women in the Catholic Church, with about 230 houses and more than 2,300 members worldwide.

A group of four sisters and two novices made their way to Dundee with just a few simple possessions in 1863.

The Diocese of Dunkeld has secured the funds required to continue to run the care home despite the absence of the nuns.