Sisters of the Poor attend their last mass in Cleveland together

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Today is Palm Sunday, the day that marks the beginning of Holy Week for Christians all around the world. In the Cleveland area, it also marks the last Sunday that a very special group of nuns will attend mass here.

The Sisters of the Poor have been caring for elderly patients who have little or no income for close to 150 years.

Today, they worshipped for the last time in the facility they've served since the 1960's, now named Altercare at St. Joseph Center in Warrensville Heights.

"It's always a pinch when we have to leave somewhere and leave our residents into the hands of others, but I think we've made the best decision," said Sister Robert Francis Marie, who has been a Sister of the Poor for 40 years.

A shortage of sisters has forced the order to sell their facility to Altercare, a company that provides care for the elderly, and end their ministry of providing care to the elderly poor here.

"Since they've come to Cleveland, they said they've served over six thousand people, caring for them until they died,” said Father Tom Fanta of


Linda Scolaro is an activities director for the facility and has worked with the sisters for close to three decades.

"The sisters were wonderful. They provided the care for the residents, stayed with them in their dying stages in their rooms 24 hours a day," said Scolaro.

One of the conditions of the sale of the property was that the chapel inside the building would remain a spiritual place.

"There's a little bit of solace in there. You see the crucifixes and the statues around, so you know they are going to keep their word," added Sister Robert Francis Marie.

From here, each sister has an assignment to continue their work with other Sisters of the Poor in other cities.

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