Farewell to Edinburgh

After 154 years of caring for the elderly in Edinburgh the Little Sisters are withdrawing  from this location.

On Sunday 5th August the Little Sisters in Edinburgh opened their doors to nearly 300 people as Archbishop Leo Cushley celebrated the farewell Mass of thanksgiving in the chapel of the home.

Residents, families, staff, Associates, volunteers, benefactors and friends were all invited to this very special celebration.  Little Sisters from Glasgow and Greenock came too with former residents of Edinburgh.

The chapel was beautifully decorated with flowers in the papal colours. Everywhere we looked there were flowers. It was really touching to see a good number of our staff and their families come to join in the celebration. Some of the Religious of the diocese were also present.

After the opening hymn “Be thou my vision”, which was sung with great gusto by all present, Archbishop Leo began Mass and then invited us to be seated for a few moments.

Sr. Mary Christina then introduced various objects which were brought forward to be placed in front of the lectern: The icon of Saint Jeanne Jugan (already in place) and the relic, our constitutions, an excerpt from the first register of the home recounting the admission of the first elderly lady and gentleman and finally

a candle symbolising the light of Christ burning in the heart of every person who has shared in our ministry of love and service over the past 155 years.

In his Homily the Archbishop emphasised that we are not here today to mourn but to give thanks for 155 years of love and service to the elderly. He said, “We will miss the gentle presence and effective witness of the Little Sisters but they will always merit our thanks and affection for all they have done here”.  We give thanks, we will miss them, and we will remain united to them in communion with them in our heart, wherever they go!”

Sr Celine came back from Glasgow for this special Mass and she brought up the offerings with the longest serving member of staff, the AJJ coordinator and a volunteer. The hymn “Blest are they, the poor in spirit” accompanied this part of the Mass which was very appropriate.

Before the final Blessing, Mother Provincial Kathleen of Jesus thanked everyone for coming.

“We are well aware of the many acts of kindness shown to us over so many years, which are recorded in the history of this house; not least the warm welcome extended by the people of Edinburgh to a group of Sisters who first arrived here in 1863.   They came in response to their Vocation as Little Sisters of the Poor; they came with nothing but the love of God in their hearts and a great desire to serve him in caring for the elderly of this city.   They came empty handed but it was the people of Edinburgh who filled those hands with all that they needed to make their mission possible.   Down through the years, from generation to generation, this gesture of kindness and support has been repeated time and time again. Without the help, support and encouragement of so many people, the work of the Little Sisters would not have been able to continue for so long. You have all been a part of this venture:   benefactors, volunteers, staff, associates, families and friends. We thank each and every one of you for the wonderful spirit that has existed in so many ways”. She finished by assuring all present that although we are leaving Edinburgh, they would always have a special place in our hearts and be remembered in the month Mass celebrated in all the homes of the congregation throughout the world.

  We must always say: Blessed be God,

thank you my God.