The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

In 2018, we Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are celebrating 150 years of our presence in America (1868 – 2018). 

Many activities are planned for our sesquicentennial. An opening prayer service and reception will be held at The Center at Donaldson on December 31, 2017 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET to begin the year-long celebration. You are invited. 

Click here to read about other celebratory events throughout the year.

Our history in America began in the aftermath of the Civil War. Catherine Kasper, the foundress of the Poor Handmaid congregation, missioned the first Poor Handmaids to America, in response to an invitation from Bishop Luers of Fort Wayne. Eight German Sisters were selected from among the two hundred that volunteered to come to America. These eight Poor Handmaids arrived on August 28, 1868 in Hessen Cassel, Indiana to begin their ministry with the German immigrants. By September 10, the Sisters had taken charge of the parish school, were assigned to nursing the sick in the area, and assumed the responsibility of caring for the needs of the parish church. 

150 years later, we Poor Handmaids celebrate the varied and generous ways that the spirit and charism of our foundress continue to be lived through each of us, our Associate Community, the Fiat Spiritus Community and through so many others who also live and minister in Blessed Catherine Kasper’s spirit. Throughout these 150 years in America, we have partnered in the work of the Spirit in nearly 400 ministries, both here, and as missionary Sisters abroad. 

In commemoration of the tremendous blessings we have received from God, we invite you to join us in 12 hours of prayer beginning on December 31, 2017 as the anniversary year arrives.  We invite each of you, wherever you are in the world, to pray with us from 9:00 pm EST on December 31, 2017 to 9:00 am EST January 1, 2018. 

With gratitude, we celebrate our blessed past, vibrant present, and empowered future and invite you to join us in celebrating our sesquicentennial.

Poor Handmaids from around the world wish you Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

HealthVisions met with Bishop Edward Braxton, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, to discuss the services and ministry of HealthVisions. Paula Wills, director of HealthVisions explained the services HealthVisions provides and its expansion of assisted transportation services throughout St. Clair County and western Clinton County to seniors age 60 and older. HealthVisions provides transportation services using volunteers to provide one on one assistance for seniors and take them to services including dialysis, cancer treatment, pharmacy, shopping, etc. HealthVisions also provides assistance with Medicare programs including Medicare Savings to help low income seniors have their Medicare Part B premium paid each month. They also provide help with open enrollment, low income subsidies to reduce the cost of medication for people on Medicare. HealthVisions provides assistance with benefit access applications for ride free transit cards and discounts on license plates. The benefit access replaced the circuit breaker program for the state of Illinois. HealthVisions provides chronic disease self-management workshops to teach people how to be better self-managers of their chronic conditions. HealthVisions provides training and support to local congregations to help them engage in outreach ministries to reach hurting people for God. The services HealthVisions provides is supported by grants and tax-deductible donations.

Bishop Braxton was pleased to hear about the services and the Poor Handmaids commitment to serve the poor and underserved. He invited Paula Wills to meet with the Diocesan Presbyteral Council on 11/6/17 to educate them on the services.  Bishop Braxton wanted to encourage the Diocesan parishioners to access the services and volunteer to help seniors. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ started HealthVisions after they sold St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis. For more information on how you can support HealthVisions or receive services, please call 618-271-7000.