On Saturday, May 11, the Little Sisters of the Poor held their annual fundraising dinner in Somerville. This event, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Little Sisters, began with Mass in their Chapel which was celebrated by Vicar General Bishop Peter J. Uglietto. Bishop Uglietto graciously filled in for Cardinal O’Malley, who was called away to Rome and was unable to be at the Mass. Following Mass, there was a reception and dinner at the Center for Arts at the Armory located directly across the street.
This year’s event co-chairs were Craig and Nancy Gibson, longtime friends and supporters of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Mr. Gibson sits on the Little Sisters’ Advisory Board, and both he and Nancy visit the home monthly with the Order of Malta to attend Mass and then serve lunch and visit with the Residents. Through their leadership, this event raised double what was raised last year, proving to be the most successful dinner to date.
For the first time ever, the Little Sisters were given a matching gift by the Flatley Foundation for this event. Matching up to $75,000 raised through the event, the Flatleys helped ensure that this event would be the most successful ever. Speaking of the matching gift at the event, Mother Superior of the home, Mother Maureen said, “it gives me chills just to tell you about it!” With the match, this event has raised nearly $240,000. All of the proceeds go towards ensuring that the mission of the Little Sisters continues in Somerville so that the elderly poor have a loving home to go where they will be loved and cared for as family until God calls them home to Himself.
With more than 270 guests in attendance, this year’s event was also the largest in terms of turn-out. This was widely due to the fact that the Little Sisters introduced a new component to this fundraiser; the presentation of the Spirit of Jeanne Jugan Award. This award, which will be given annually at the dinner moving forward, was created to recognize and thank loyal benefactors who embody the selfless, humble, and compassionate spirit of the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Jeanne Jugan. The first recipients of the award were Mary & Mario Cutone. Mary was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of herself and her late husband, Mario, who passed away unexpectedly last summer. The Little Sisters were so thrilled to be able to honor the Cutones in this special way, and to be able to share their immense gratitude for all the Cutone family has done for them and their Residents.
Jeanne Jugan Pavilion Resident, Tom Hartigan, gave a testimony regarding living at the home. His wife, Marilyn, joined him on stage, and Tom proceeded to give a heartwarming and hilarious account of his time with the Sisters. The love he has for his home was palpable, and the crowd laughed along with his funny stories, and wiped tears from their eyes as he relayed how loved he feels living at the home. It was a beautiful talk and a highlight of the night.
Events like this would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of volunteers. The Little Sisters of the Poor are so blessed by relationships with schools and community groups in the surrounding area. High schoolers from Arlington Catholic and Austin Preparatory School came to help serve dinner, while the Jazz band from Somerville High School offered entertainment for the reception and during dinner. Volunteers from St. Cecilia Parish’s (Boston) Young Adult Group also were there to help set up, serve dinner, and clean up after the event. Truly, the volunteers were wonderful and ensured that every guest felt welcome and taken care of.
If you would like to learn more about the mission of the Little Sisters of the Poor, please visit their website, www.littlesistersofthepoorboston.org.