Our History

We are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious whose mission continues the tradition established in France in 1839 by our Foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan. She demonstrated a great love for God and the elderly and from her initial founding gesture of welcoming an elderly woman into her own home, her work evolved into a congregation of Sisters dedicated to humble service of the aged poor.

The first Little Sisters of the Poor arrived in America in 1868, establishing a home in Brooklyn, New York. We were invited to come to this area by concerned clergy and lay people. In 1878 the first home was established at South Eighth Street in Newark. A second home was opened in 1901 at 70 Dey Street in Paterson. After outgrowing these two homes, construction of a new building in Totowa began in 1974. With the transfer of approximately 250 Residents from the Newark and Paterson homes, St. Joseph’s Home in Totowa was dedicated in 1976.

Over the years several changes in levels of care have occurred, along with the conversion of dual-occupancy to single-occupancy rooms. The home now includes congregate living apartments for elderly persons or couples still able to live independently; residential care units for ambulatory seniors who need minimal to moderate assistance; and skilled care, which provides the total continuum of care generally reserved for Residents who require 24 hour/day skilled nursing care due to the onset of illness or disability.

Today the Little Sisters continue the charism of Saint Jeanne Jugan at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly and maintain a prayerful and attentive presence with our elderly Residents, who derive strength and peace from this assurance.

For more information about Saint Jeanne Jugan and the Little Sisters of the Poor,  click here.

Rendering of Little Sisters of the Poor,
70 Dey Street, Paterson, NJ

Little Sisters of the Poor,
1 South Eighth Street, Newark, NJ