Little Sisters of the Poor
From the Jersey Catholic Record, 1974
The first invitation to the Little Sisters of the Poor to care for the elderly in Jersey was made to them in February 1880 by Madame Langliet, a resident in the Island. After visiting the Mother House in Brittany and consulting the Bishop and clergy, Madame Langliet decided that what she really wanted was Sisters devoted to nursing the sick in their own homes.
In 1884 Mr and Mrs Mowbray Laming came from Paris to live in Jersey. The work of the Little Sisters was well known to them and in 1885 they asked for a foundation to be made in the Island. The Superiors of the Congregation agreed to their proposal and the Bishop of Portsmouth gave his approval. Both English and French clergy were in favour of it and Mr and Mrs Mowbray Laming were able to proceed with plans for its realisation.
About this time the Jesuit Fathers were establishing themselves in Jersey, which caused some reaction against Catholics, so the Bishop advised some delay. In March 1886 one of the Mothers Assistant General accompanied by another Sister from the Mother House came to Jersey to have a better idea of the situation.
They visited many of the principal families in the Island, made sure of the favourable dispositions of the inhabitants and looked for a suitable house. Through the efforts of the parish priest, Rev Father McCarthy; this was found at 10 and 11 Grosvenor Terrace, and the Sisters went there on 29 March. Mr Laming received them and a few people brought provisions, and on 7 April two ladies were admitted, one of them being 87 years old.
The foundation was placed under the patronage of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor. On 8 April Father McCarthy blessed the house and little chapel and the following day the first mass was celebrated.
Good friends came to the assistance of the Sisters, the Father Provincial of the Jesuits provided many necessities, the neighbouring shopkeepers were most kind to the collecting Sisters and a number of people visited the home bringing little gifts with them, but as can be imagined, sacrifices were many.
In May the first old gentleman was admitted, and later six more ladies, and within nine months the Sisters were caring for 30 elderly people in the home, the means of existence being sufficient but not plentiful.
The following year the Sisters found it impossible to accommodate the number of people seeking admission, so a larger house was sought and acquired on 19 February 1887. This property was known as Hauteville and was beautifully situated.
When the transaction became known through a local newspaper it caused some surprise, but most people were pleased that it was destined for a home for the elderly.
The transfer from Grosvenor Terrace to Hauteville took place on the 2 June 1887 and 18 men, 20 women and eight Sisters moved in.
This is the property where St Augustine's Home is today, and the passing years have seen many alterations and constructions. In 1890 the chapel was built; in 1891 more rooms which enabled the Sisters to take another 40 residents; 1897 saw the beginning of a building for the men and a convent for the Sisters. In 1912 the Ladies' wing was extended, and again in 1933.
In 1972 a big project was undertaken, which provides comfortable single rooms, rooms for married couples, sun parlour. laundry, etc. All these works have been accomplished through the help of the States of Jersey, the parishes and benefactors, great and small. Since the beginning of the Home, more than 2,300 old people have been admitted and cared for to the end.