Our Begging Tradition
Jeanne Jugan’s idea of family extended far beyond the Little Sisters and Residents. She believed that because God is our Father, all men and women are brothers and sisters—members of one family—and responsible for one another. She invited people from many walks of life to share in her mission of hospitality. To provide for the needs of the aged poor, Jeanne Jugan walked the roads of Brittany seeking alms. Knocking on doors, she asked for money and gifts of food, clothing, wood, wool or
whatever was needed for the Residents. She was recognized by the begging basket she carried.Today many know Sister Elisabeth Ann and her companions as they visit businesses and the local produce markets of the Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens asking for food and other commodities and services to help offset operating expenses. These stops include vendors at Hunts Point market who give produce and meat weekly, printers who donate paper and printing services, and garden stores who offer fresh flowers for every holiday and celebration.
98% of our Residents are on Medicaid—and yet, Medicaid reimbursement only covers 60% of our general operating costs. In today’s economy, we must count on community support more than ever.
Jeanne always thanked her benefactors by praying for them—and she thanked God at the same time. "God has blessed me, she said, because I always thanked his Providence … What gratitude we owe our benefactors … What could we do for the elderly without them? "
Like Saint Jeanne Jugan, we recognize that our benefactors are indispensable partners in our mission. And like her, we pray for them every day!