lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Little Sisters Receive Steubenville's Poverello Medal

On October 10, 2014 the Little Sisters of the Poor received the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Poverello Medal at a ceremony in the University’s Christ the King Chapel. The medal was awarded to our Congregation for our “dedication to the poor and elderly,” and for our “courageous stand for Catholic values and religious freedom despite challenges from government authorities.”

According to a University press release, the Poverello Medal is Steubenville University's highest non-academic honor, bestowed on organizations and individuals who imitate St. Francis of Assisi, "Il Poverello," (the little poor man) by their strength of character, practical Christian charity, and love for and service to the poor.

Franciscan University President Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, presented the Poverello Medal to Mother Provincial Loraine Marie Maguire of the Baltimore Province. Sister Constance Veit, communications director, gave a talk on the spiritualities of St. Francis and Saint Jeanne Jugan and the call to journey toward others in the service of the Gospel.

The Poverello Medal, cast in steel to signify the ideals of Franciscan simplicity and poverty, bears on the front an image of St. Francis giving money to the poor. On the back are the words, "In recognition of great benefactions to humanity, exemplifying in our age the Christ-like spirit of charity which filled the life of St. Francis of Assisi." Past recipients include Dorothy Day, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.

CLICK HERE for a video of the awards ceremony.

CLICK HERE for the text of Sr. Loraine's speech.

CLICK HERE for the text of Sr. Constance's speech.

CLICK HERE for Catholic News Agency coverage.

Franciscan University of Steubenville
Poverello Medal Citation

October 10, 2014
As history tells it, Sister Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, loved her American postulants best. Or so the postulants living in the French formation house in the 1870s thought.

“She always favors the Americans,” they once grumbled. “Why do the Americans get special treatment?”
Sister Jeanne invariably replied that the Americans needed the extra attention because they were “the first missionaries of the little family.” She also told the postulants that it was “heroic for young girls to come from so far away … It needed a double vocation.”

Judging by the rapid growth of Sister Jeanne’s community in the United States, double vocations abounded in late 19th century America.

In August 1868, the first group of Little Sisters arrived in New York, where they set up a home and took in the elderly poor, providing them with food, shelter and medical care. The sisters had no endowment and wanted none. They begged for every dollar and bed.

After that, the order exploded in America. In less than three years, the Little Sisters of the Poor established nine houses across the country. In every city people asked, “What are you going to do in a house where there is nothing?”

“Wait a few days,” they replied.

Sure enough, something always came.
Today, in the 29 homes they operate around the United States and many others across the world, the Little Sisters of the Poor continue faithfully living out their original mission of encountering Christ in prayer and serving him in the poor. They offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for a family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, however, has called into question the future of their work. The sisters today face millions in fines because they cannot, in good conscience, comply with federal rules that mandate they provide employees with free access to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Hoping to avert closing their doors, the Little Sisters filed a class-action lawsuit on September 24, 2013. Their case will be heard before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, in just a few short weeks, on December 8.

In this and in all they do, the Little Sisters of the Poor have demonstrated strength of character, practical
Christian charity and humility. Here in America and wherever they serve around the globe, the sisters are following in the footsteps of St. Francis — remembered by history as il Poverello, or “the little poor man” — loving Christ by loving the little and the least. Franciscan University is grateful that so many “double vocations” have abounded in America. For the sisters’ ongoing Yes to Christ, their great love of the poor, and their courageous defense of Catholic teaching, this University is honored to present the 2014 Poverello Award to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Photos, top to bottom: The Poverello medal; the group of Little Sisters present surrounds Mother Provincial Loraine after the medal presentation; Father Richard Davis, TOR, minister provincial, Sr. Constance, Mother Provincial Loraine, Father Sean O. Sheridan, University president; Mother Provincial accepts the medal; Sr. Constance gives her speech; Father Davis with Sr. Therese, a Steubenville alum.

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