National News

Little Sisters Withdraw from 147-Year-Old St. Louis Ministry

By Jennifer Brinker

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — The Little Sisters of the Poor are withdrawing from their ministry of caring for the elderly poor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Mo., after 147 years of service.

The sisters cited a decrease in sufficient vocations to effectively staff the residence in north St. Louis, in the spirit of the community’s foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan.

“We are eternally grateful for the support and love we received during our many years in St. Louis,” said Mother Gonzague Castro, local superior. “We love the city nearly as much as we love the people we work with and care for.”

The sisters are seeking new sponsorship to manage the property, which is home to 88 residents and has 125 employees. Efforts to assure the community’s mission through the transition are being managed by Kevin Short, managing partner and CEO of Clayton Capital Partners, a St. Louis-based investment banking firm that specializes in merger and acquisition advisement.

Families of residents were notified by letter Aug. 22 of the sisters’ withdrawal of sponsorship and staffing. Eight sisters at the north St. Louis residence will move to other community-sponsored residences in the United States. Their departure is contingent on the best possible outcome they can find for the home, and its residents and staff.

Letters were sent to priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and religious communities, notifying them of the news.

“This sacrifice will be keenly felt by countless people in our community, beginning with the residents, their families, and devoted lay collaborators,” St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson wrote in a letter to priests.

Brinker is a staff writer at the St. Louis Review, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.