A lack of women choosing to join or work with the religious order as well as the advancing ages of the sisters at the St Helier care home are behind the ‘sad’ decision to leave, Sister Caroline Emmanuel, Superior Provincial, said.
However, she added that the order would not withdraw from Jersey until a care provider was found to take over the New St John’s Road home. Currently, 62 residents live at the home and there are also 20 flats which are used as sheltered accommodation. A total of 103 staff and seven sisters work at the site.
Sister Caroline said: ‘It is with great sadness and regret that we, the Little Sisters of the Poor, announce that the decision has been made to withdraw from Jersey.
‘This is entirely due to lack of vocations in the congregation, and the advancing ages of the sisters. This decision has not been taken lightly and has been the object of much reflection and prayer.’
Sister Caroline added that the order would ‘continue as usual’ in Jersey until it finds a care organisation ‘with values that respect the dignity of the residents and provide them with the highest quality of care’.
‘We know this news will affect everyone connected to the home, but most importantly our residents, their families and the staff, and we are committed to supporting them through this transition.
‘We are grateful to all who have helped us in our mission during these 133 years.’
The Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, yesterday expressed his regret that the sisters would leave the Jeanne Jugan Residence.
‘The Little Sisters of the Poor have been such a beloved and integral part of Jersey’s community for so many years,’ he said.
‘Their missionary work, carried out with dedication and love, will be sorely missed by everyone. I offer my thanks for their devotion, particularly to the residents of the Jeanne Jugan Residence, and my prayers go with both the sisters and the people of Jersey during this time of transition.’
He added that it was ‘difficult’ to continue missionary work when the number of women joining the Little Sisters of the Poor congregation was declining.
‘Consequently, I invite all faithful to pray for an increase in vocations in the church today, such that young women may listen to the call of Christ, discover their true vocation and have the courage to follow God’s will for their lives,’ he said.
‘To support this endeavour I will be commissioning a new diocesan prayer initiative, which I hope will be of some comfort to the sisters and to the people of Jersey.’
The Little Sisters of the Poor is one of the larger religious institutes of women in the Catholic Church and has about 230 houses with more than 2,300 members worldwide.