Palatine residents may have noticed the picturesque pond located along Northwest Highway, with a three-story building behind it, but may not know much more about it.
Little Sisters of the Poor St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly at 80 W. Northwest Highways has its origins in France, and came to Palatine close to 50 years ago.
It was founded by Jeanne Jugan, a French woman who was later named a Saint due to her work with the elderly, and those in-need.
In 1839, she happened upon a blind, homeless woman and took her in to her home in France. She began to open up her small apartment to others in-need in her community - and over the last 174 years, the giving nature of Little Sisters of the Poor has spread to 3,100 countries around the world.
The home for the elderly is run entirely on philanthropic donations.
“We rely entirely on God’s Divine Providence and the goodness of others to provide for the needs of our residents and the home,” said Mother Superior Marguerite McCarthy, who is in charge of the facility.
There are 16 sisters who work and live there, and none of them - including the Mother Superior - take a salary. They are always on call to assist the residents with whatever needs they may have.
"We’re religious women who were called to God, and called to serve in this way," McCarthy said. “Those who assist us like the fact that all of the funds donated go directly to continue our operations.”
Since 1966, the Palatine home has provided both independent living and nursing home care for its residents, which currently total 94.
There is a beauty shop where volunteers come in and donate their time to help the residents, look and feel their best. Activities, including arts and crafts, and performances from local groups and by residents occur in the home’s theatre space.
Busing is provided for those who live there to go shopping, and a medical suite also is available.
“You couldn’t be in a better place. They treat you like you’re the only person here,” said Dolores Driscoll, an eight-year resident formerly of Evergreen Park.
Little Sisters of the Poor is dedicated to St. Joseph, and has received a 5-Star rating out of 500 other comparable nursing and independent living homes throughout the state. The home is one of only three awarded the top rating.
The 8th Annual Swing and a Prayer Golf Outing will be held on Monday, September 30 at Ivanhoe County Club, to help fund operations at Little Sisters of the Poor.
McCarthy said in addition to normal operations, there are mounting costs to replace three boilers and air conditioning in a portion of the 187,000 square foot facility, located on 15 acres.
“Our residents are very happy to be here, because there are many strong relationships made here,” McCarthy said. “There is a true sense of belonging.”
Admittance to the home is based first and foremost, on need.
“We are so blessed, there are no adjectives to describe how wonderful it is to live here,” said Theresita Endencia, a resident who has lived in the home for the last several years.
For more information, visit the Little Sisters of the Poor website.