Our Begging Tradition

I Have A Story To Tell

I am the beggar.  Some people become uncomfortable when I introduce myself that way but I don’t, for you see, I have a story to tell.
Begging has been around as long as history itself.  It is an unfortunate reality.  But is it?  Do we see it for what it really is - an invitation?

In the Gospels, we hear the story of the blind beggar sitting by the roadside, he cries out for Jesus to give him sight.  In the autobiography of St. Jeanne Jugan, “Humble So As To Love More,” we see that the France of her time had many beggars, many of whom were elderly and destitute.  Jeanne heard the story of the elderly poor and took it as her own.  Her elderly often told her, “Sister Jeanne, go out instead of us, go and beg for us.”  That is what St. Jeanne did.  With her big basket on her arm, she told their story.  She took it to the people of her time and invited them into that story, to care for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

That is what I do.  I try to draw people into a story, not my own personal story, but a story of the elderly poor whose needs are just as real as they were in the time of St. Jeanne Jugan.  As I go about the streets of Boston, Chelsea, Everett, and wherever I am called to go, my dress is a simple black habit with a gray veil in winter, a white habit and veil in summer, and my “basket” is a big blue van - but the story never changes, the poor are still among us. I want to invite you to listen to their story.

Most mornings when I return from my begging rounds, be it in the cold of winter or the scorching heat of summer, I run into Sr. Marcella, 95 years young.  She always greets me the same way, “How was the market this morning, Sr. Mary?” There’s a lilt to the Irish brogue she still carries and a smile in her Irish eyes.  I answer truthfully, “Our van was filled to overflowing.”  She will always tell me “Good job.”  I reply with a shake of my head, more of wonder than of anything else and I remember the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 34, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” And the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew resound, “Whatsoever you did to the least of my brothers, that you have done unto Me.”  I am the beggar and I have just told the story and the people heard.  God’s Providence did the rest.    – Sr. Mary Vincent

Chances are we’ve met at a church collection

With the blessing of Sean Cardinal O’Malley O.F.M., we continue to reach out to the people of archdiocese of Boston through the church collections, introducing those who do not know us to our mission. For those who do know us, visiting the various parishes of the archdiocese deepens the friendships we have already forged and gives the faithful an opportunity to share in our mission. For details please contact Sister Rosemary, smchc@littlesistersofthepoor.org.

Other ways of helping

  • Gifts-in-kind are greatly appreciated! Click here for a list of much needed items (pdf).
  • Support us by participating in one of our fund raising events. See calendar section for details.
  • Interested in other ways of helping us? If you wish to be a part of our ongoing miracle, email me at smdonations@littlesistersofthepoor.org or call 857-928-3548. I’ll be happy to further introduce you to our mission and the many ways you can share in it.

Thank you for being a part of the miracle. Feel free to stop by and see what a difference YOUR gift has made!