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Little Sisters of the Poor Receive Franciscan University's Poverello Medal

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October 14, 2014 - 8:36 PDT

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STEUBENVILLE, OH (October 14, 2014) - The Little Sisters of the Poor, who care for the elderly with Christ's love and compassion on four continents, became the latest recipients of Franciscan University of Steubenville's highest non-academic award, the Poverello Medal. The medal was presented at an October 10 ceremony held in Christ the King Chapel. It is named after Franciscan University's patron, St. Francis of Assisi, who was known as Il Poverello, the little poor man.

In presenting the award, Franciscan University President Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, said it was fitting that the Little Sisters receive the Poverello Medal during Respect Life Month, with its theme based on the words of Pope Francis: "Each of us is a masterpiece of God's creation."

The Little Sisters offer "the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself," he said.

The LSPs operate homes for the elderly in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania, including 29 centers in the United States. A hallmark of their care is that a member of their congregation remains at the bedside of a dying patient day and night, offering prayers and companionship.

In accepting the Poverello Medal, Sister Loraine Maguire, provincial superior of the Baltimore Province, said, "I see in this medal the symbol of all the things that matter: to be poor, little, humble, and merciful to all those we serve; to treat others as Christ himself, and to live in a manner that reflects his very life."

Sister Maguire noted that a past recipient of the Poverello Medal, Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, died October 3 at a Little Sisters of the Poor home in Totowa, New Jersey.

The main address of the evening was given by Sister Constance Veit, LSP, national communications director for the congregation.

She recounted how St. Francis of Assisi was horrified of lepers and would go to great lengths to avoid them until he found the courage to embrace a leper "and directed his heart for the first time toward someone worth loving other than himself."

Sister Veit said this same journey "from self to other" was taken by their French foundress, Jeanne Jugan, who in 1839 was moved by pity and took a blind, partially paralyzed elderly woman into her small apartment.

Sister Veit said the elderly, who will represent 19 percent of the U.S. population by 2030, "have become the contemporary outcasts" of society.

"I urge you to fight against the tendency to marginalize and abandon the elderly, to commit what the Pope [Francis] refers to as 'hidden euthanasia.'"

She called for "a covenant between generations where, in the words of Pope Francis, 'the young give the strength which enables a people to move forward, while the elderly consolidate this strength by their memory and their traditional wisdom.'"

The Little Sisters of the Poor made headlines in 2013 when they challenged the Affordable Care Act mandate that they provide contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan. Facing million-dollar fines that could put their ministry in peril, the LSPs filed a class action lawsuit against the mandate, which will be heard before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Twelve members of the Little Sisters of the Poor from the provinces of Chicago, Brooklyn, and Baltimore witnessed the Poverello Medal Ceremony, along with members of Franciscan University's Board of Trustees and other guests.

Poverello Medal Ceremony Video: The ceremony, including Sister Veit's talk, can be viewed online on YouTube.

Contact

Franciscan University of Steubenville
http://franciscan.edu
OH, 43952 US
Tom Sofio - Associate Director of Public Relations,

Keywords

Franciscan University, Little Sisters of the Poor, Poverello Medal, HHS Mandate

Category

Catholic Organizations

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