History

In 1868, the Little Sisters established the first U.S. Homes. Father Earnest Lelievre, a priest who dedicated his life to our young Congregation, sailed to America in May, 1868. A mere 8 months later, the first Home of the Little Sisters was opened in Louisville, Kentucky. This Home at 622 South 10th Street was in operation from 1869 through 1977. The Home was finally closed due to severe structural problems. The Little Sisters were sorely missed in the Louisville community and with an outpouring of love, a group formed to raise funds to build a new Home and bring the Little Sisters back. The current Home was built in 1991 and the Little Sisters returned to Louisville. Since the beginning of our American Adventure, the Little Sisters’ mission of care for the elderly poor has been generously supported by bishops, religious communities and countless generous citizens.

  • 1839 In Cancale, France, Jeanne Jugan carried a poor, blind woman into her own home. She gave up her own bed to provide comfort to this woman. This solitary act of charity began the work of the Little sisters of the poor.
  • 1849 The name ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ became the official name of the congregation. Jeanne Jugan supported the elderly poor in her care through the humble act of begging, which continues today.
  • 1857 Sarah Worthington Peter went to La Tour, France to encourage the Little Sisters of the Poor to bring their congregation of service to the elderly poor to the United States.
  • 1868 Fr. Ernest Lelievre traveled from France in May 1868 to New York – arriving in June, to meet with bishops of New Orleans, New York and St. Louis, encouraging the presence of the Little Sisters of the Poor in the United States.
  • 1868 October 14, 1868, the first Little Sisters of the Poor arrived in Cincinnati, establishing the first residence for the elderly poor in a storefront in Over the Rhine. Soon after, they established the first home.
  • 1869 The Little Sisters arrived in Louisville and began their work in the Home on 10th street.
  • 1977 The home on 10th street was deemed unlivable and was shut down. Residents of the Home were moved to Homes in other states that were run by the Little Sisters.
  • 1990 A capital campaign was started by a local group to bring the Little Sisters back to Louisville.
  • 1991 The St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged was opened at 15 Audubon Plaza Drive.
  • 1982 On October 3, 1982, Pope John Paul II beatified Jeanne Jugan, the second of three steps toward canonization as a saint – placing her before the eyes of the world as an example of compassion and care for the elderly poor.
  • 1993 The Little Sisters of the Poor celebrated a total of 100 years of service to the elderly poor in Louisville.
  • 2008 December 6th, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree recognizing the validity of a second miracle attributed to Blessed Jeanne Jugan; approving her for canonization as a saint.
  • 2009 On October 11, 2009, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI officially declared the Little Sister’s foundress a saint – Saint Jeanne Jugan – during a cononization Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
    Eighteen pilgrims from our Louisville Home were in attendance.