Little Sisters of the Poor celebrates 150 years of helping the elderly

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CHICAGO — The Little Sisters of the Poor are committed to caring for the elderly. It is their vocation, and has been for 150 years. The nuns have comforted countless seniors who spend their sunset years at St. Mary’s Home, surrounded by love.

“Our mission really is to take care of the elderly and poor of any race, color, creed, and to let them know that they are loved. They are important,” Mother Superior said.

“Just their stories alone, of how they made it through life, are such an encouragement to each of us,” Sister Josephine said. “And so we inherit a lot more than we give.”

Brandon Karp, 25, volunteers his time with residents.

“The biggest thing is to be full of life .. and optimism,” he said. “No matter work, personal relationships, people you meet, more than anything else. We’re all in this together on this earth, so the more positive you can be, the better.”

Karp calls his time at Little Sisters of the Poor “a beautiful gift.” Some of the residents have become his best friends: Karp is an endurance athlete who loves to hike and cycle, while resident Jim Glomski used to own a bike shop in Wrigleyville.

“I’m glad I’m able to give my time,” Karp said. “It’s the least I can do. But at the same time, I truly get so much more out of this experience than I could even explain.”

Since he started volunteering, Karp said he’s less scared of whatever “the end” may be, and that taking this journey with these residents is something he’ll always treasure.

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