Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn has always been close to the Little Sisters of the Poor.
When he was pastor of St. Ambrose parish in Latham, N.Y., the Little Sisters maintained a home on the property for elderly persons in need. It was the same home his aunt — at the time, the last living member of his father’s family who helped raise him — moved into after he was appointed bishop of Lafayette, La.
He then became friends with the Little Sisters in nearby New Orleans, where they also maintained a home. And he continued to support their ministry after he was appointed archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“I’ve always been so grateful to them,” Archbishop Flynn said of the sisters, who maintain Holy Family Residence in St. Paul. “They have this profound reverence for the elderly, and that carries over into spoiling the elderly poor in a beautiful, beautiful manner.”
The appreciation he feels is mutual. On Oct. 19, the sisters awarded Archbishop Flynn with their St. Jeanne Jugan Award at a fundraising gala in St. Paul, thanking him for his support and dedication to the Little Sisters both locally and nationally, and honoring him on his 50th anniversary of priesthood.
Special family member
“Archbishop Flynn represents the utmost epitome of gracious hospitality of our Lord Jesus Christ but also that of our foundress, Jeanne Jugan,” Mother Theresa Gertrude Robertson, superior of the St. Paul community, noted in the gala’s program.
“During the special occasions when he celebrated Mass with us, he always took the time to acknowledge and show his gratitude for every person who had a role — the choir, the servers, the lectors,” she said.
“When visiting the residents and sisters, he often enjoyed bringing a treat and taking time to share a cup of coffee. Archbishop Flynn exudes an aura of cordiality that makes each individual welcome him as a very special member of our family.”
Fundraising goal exceeded
About 500 people attended the gala, which featured silent and live auctions. The event exceeded its fundraising goal of $100,000, Mother Theresa Gertrude said.
The proceeds are being used for the Little Sisters’ chapel renovation, which includes making the sanctuary handicapped-accessible, providing lighting and acoustical enhancements, refinishing pews, adding heating in the balcony and doing other repairs.
The sisters, who have been ministering in the archdiocese since 1883, hope the chapel renovation will be finished by the end of the month, Mother Theresa Gertrude said. A chapel rededication and blessing with Archbishop Flynn will be scheduled for early next year.