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  • Sisters of the Poor says:

    Older Dairy Valley Residents may remember this………..

    Little Sisters of the Poor looking to exit San Pedro, but looking to pass home for elderly poor on to new operator

    Little Sisters of the Poor facility in San Pedro. The religious order has filed a lawsuit against the HHS mandate. .
    Tears and shock spread through Little Sisters of the Poor‘s home for the elderly Tuesday, Feb. 18, when the surprise announcement came: The Jeanne Jugan Residence, a widely respected San Pedro facility for the elderly poor for 40 years, would seek a new operator.

    “There was a lot of sadness, a lot of pain,” said Mother Maria Christine, provincial superior in charge of the sisters’ western territories. “We’ve been her for 41 years and in Los Angeles for 115 years.”

    Looking to pare down some of their 167 homes around the world, 23 of which are in the U.S., the religious order of nuns will be “withdrawing” from San Pedro once a buyer is found, officials announced to residents, families and staff.

    The news left staff and residents huddling in small groups, often still in tears, for much of the day, said Christine, who is based in Chicago but was on hand for the announcement. The home was originally in Boyle Heights, but moved to San Pedro in 1979. It is on ocean-view property at 2100 S. Western Ave., where Fermin Lasuen, a Catholic high school for boys, once stood before closing in 1971.

    The Rev. Mark Cregan, a priest and attorney for the order, who is coordinating the process, stressed that the home, which has about 100 residents, is not closing.

    The sisters – seven members of the order serve on the staff of about 100 — will remain on the premises until a transfer is secured, he said, which in other cases has taken about nine months to a year to complete. After that, the sisters will be reassigned or transferred.

    In a news release sent out Tuesday morning, Cregan said the sisters “are actively seeking a buyer for the home with the hope of finding another mission-driven sponsor to continue operating the facility and allowing the residents and staff to remain there.”

    Cregan has overseen several other turnovers, including one in Ohio in which another Catholic group stepped in. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a Catholic university partnered with a nursing home operator for another one of the homes, he added in an interview Tuesday.

    In September, the order announced it’d withdraw from a home in Boston; the Little Sisters found a buyer in December, Cregan said, with the agreement signed a month later; the deal is expected to close in May.

    “We’re not doing a ‘highest-and-best-use’ appraisal (value),” Cragan said of the sale, which will focus on finding a “partner” to carry on the mission. “We do the appraisal as a ‘going concern’.”

    That designation indicates that the property is expected to continue operating into the future and won’t be liquidated for assets.

    The goal, Cragan said, is to find someone who will “be able to make this work” as a facility that continues caring for the needy and elderly population.

    The order, according to the news release, is withdrawing from some locations as it seeks to dedicate more resources “to much-needed upgrades and reconstruction projects” in other homes.

    The 5.22-acre San Pedro property includes a 150,000 square-foot main building with and a smaller retreat house, with building levels ranging from 1-to-4 stories and a series of care levels offered. There also is a garden area.

    Jeanne Jugan began the Little Sisters of the Poor in France in 1839, when she opened her home to an elderly, blind and paralyzed woman in need. The order is now part of an international congregation of Roman Catholic women who serve the elderly poor in 30 countries. They operate on donations. The order probably peaked during World War II, Christine said, when 300 homes operated.

    The Jeanne Jugan Residence, meanwhile, has a wide circle of supporters in the community, who provide funds and volunteer time. It’s also considered by many to be one of the best elderly-care facilities around and has a waiting list for residents.

    Cragan described it as “old school.”

    “It’s people caring for people,” he said. “Unfortunately, health care has become a business.”

    “We take people in and create a new family (for them),” Christine said of the home’s longstanding and winsome reputation. “It’s a place where everyone loves each other and respects each other. We get to know them and we get to know their families.”

    Residents will be able to transfer to other Little Sisters homes. The closest one is in San Francisco.

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