Seven Little Sisters of the Poor arrived in St. Louis from France at the invitation of Archbishop John Patrick Kenrick on May 1, 1869 to begin their mission of caring for the elderly poor of the city. Two days later, the Sisters welcomed their first Resident in temporary quarters located in downtown St. Louis, at what is now 9th Street and Washington.
Soon the new foundation proved to be too small for the continued requests. In 1870, property was purchased at North Florissant and Hebert Streets. An existing home was arranged that allowed the Sisters to welcome a greater number of elderly Residents in need. The new building was soon filled to capacity. Plans were made in 1873 to add a new wing and a chapel. On November 23 of that year, the cornerstone was blessed. By January 1900,
after a second wing was added, the home served 276 elderly.
In June 1936, after the horse and wagon days had come to an end, a truck came into use for the begging, greatly facilitating the work of the Sisters, and making it much easier for them to complete their daily rounds.
Due to the age of the existing building, it was decided in 1965 to build a new home on the same grounds. The groundbreaking for the new home was on March 2, 1969. A three-day celebration was held from May 31st through June 2nd to mark the 100th Anniversary of the arrival of the Little Sisters of the Poor in St. Louis. The final move to the new home was on June 5, 1971.
In October of 1993, remodeling was begun to modernize the main dining room, provide a dining area for the Senior Day Center, and complete a “mini-mall” area with a country store, gift shop, library, and ice cream parlor.
At the time of our 125th Anniversary in St. Louis in November of 1994, fifteen new apartments were dedicated, enabling us to expand our work to the well elderly of limited financial means.
140 years after the first Little Sisters arrived in St. Louis, the work of hospitality rooted in such humble beginnings continues at the St. Louis Residence. We provide more than 110 low-income senior Residents with a loving home-like atmosphere where they can live out their days in peace and comfort. We are proud to be a part of St. Louis’s proud history!
For more information about Saint Jeanne Jugan and the Little Sisters of the Poor, click here.