Abraham Lincoln is said to have invited the Little Sisters to the United States out of concern that the Civil War would leave many elderly people without family, and indeed, several homes were founded on the East Coast in the 1860’s.
The Little Sisters actually came to Connecticut in 1901 at the invitation of Most Rev. Michael Tierney, Bishop of Hartford. St. Andrew’s Home for the Elderly, near St. Raphael’s Hospital, opened in 1902. Close to 4,000 elderly men and women were cared for at that Home. But it was built for another era and deemed “out of conformity” when Medicare/Medicaid/Fire and Safety regulations came into the healthcare scene. The Little Sisters were faced with closing in 1971, but Providence intervened with the availability of an almost complete facility in Enfield CT.
The Residents and Little Sisters moved to Enfield in the summer of 1972. Despite the joy of the move, there was a great sadness at leaving friends in New Haven. Over the years, we have tried to maintain those bonds while developing the new ones in Northern CT and Western MA.
The new Home had to be dedicated to St. Joseph, special friend of St. Jeanne Jugan and every Little Sister of the Poor. His statue stands in the driveway and his protection has been manifest over the years.
Even though our address and zip code change, our mission to the elderly does not. If you knew the Little Sisters in New Haven, you would feel the same spirit and joy in Enfield, and in fact, in any of our Homes over the world.