Grace Mercado is set to take over San Pedro’s Little Sisters of the Poor home for the elderly

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Grace Mercado has acquired the Jeanne Jugan Residence owned and operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor in San Pedro, California. Although the Little Sisters of the Poor have operated a Home for the Aged in Los Angeles since 1905, the time had come for them to withdraw from the area due to the limited number of sisters available across the country to continue their mission of caring for the elderly.

The sisters gathered in front of the portrait Grace Mercado commissioned of Saint Jeanne Jugan. Seated Left: Sr. Anthony Selewicz, Seated Right: Sr. Clotilde Jardim, Standing Left to Right: Mother Provincial Julie Horseman, Mother Maria Christine Lynch, Mother Marguerite McCarthy, Sr. Maureen O’Grady, Mother Margaret Charles Hogarty, Sr. Grace Leask and Sr. Juliann.

Preserving a rich tradition of high quality care

The Little Sisters searched for over a year to find a suitable owner for the 5-acre property housing the Jeanne Jugan Residence with 27 skilled nursing beds, 62 beds in a residential care facility, and 14 independent living apartment units. The property includes a chapel and a residence formerly used by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who taught at Fermin Lasuen High School before the property was converted to a nursing home in the 1970s.

The Little Sisters wanted to be sure that the new owner would continue their high quality of care, as well as see to the spiritual needs of the residents by continuing the daily mass held there. The acquisition was announced on Wednesday, May 26, at the Jeanne Jugan Residence. In attendance were Grace Mercado and her team, Father Mark Cregan, Esq., the seven Little Sisters who operate the residence, Sister Julie Horseman, Provincial Superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor, residents of the property, and staff.

Mother Provincial Julie Horseman with Grace Mercado

During the announcement, Mother Provincial Julie Horseman said, “The Little Sisters of the Poor are grateful that Grace Mercado has agreed to continue to operate the Home as a skilled nursing, residential care, and independent living facility for seniors. Becoming part of the network of homes that Grace and her colleagues operate should provide both the resources and the expertise necessary to provide quality care to the elderly for many years to come. And Grace’s own deep faith will allow the Home to attend to the spiritual needs of the residents, which gives us great consolation. While it is always difficult for the Little Sisters to withdraw from any of our Homes, knowing that the residents will continue to receive good care does provide us comfort.”

Mother Marguerite McCarthy, Superior of Jeanne Jugan Residence, said, “We welcome Grace Mercado as our successor in caring for the residents of our home. In our interactions with her and her team, we have experienced their enthusiasm for the mission of caring for the elderly, and the thoughtfulness and creativity they exhibited while interacting with us.”

Grace Mercado, who operates three other skilled nursing facilities and a home for developmentally disabled children, has nearly 30 years of experience in running nursing homes. Her husband, Rupert, also assists in the ongoing operations of the facilities. Ms. Mercado said, “We are honored to be selected as the next operator of this home and we look forward to many years of providing kind and compassionate care for the elderly of Los Angeles. This acquisition will also allow us to expand the efforts of The Grace O Foundation, which is very close to my heart.”

The Grace O Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and honoring diverse cuisine, food as medicine, and the healing foods from around the world through programs that educate, inspire, and have the potential to change and improve lives.

Fr. Mark Cregan takes questions from residents.

In the evening, Father Mark Cregan, Counsel to the Little Sisters of the Poor, led a virtual town hall meeting for the family members of the residents, some of whom live all across the United States. He answered questions along with Grace Mercado, Mother Provincial Julie Horseman, and Mother Margaret Charles Hogarty, incoming Superior of Jeanne Jugan Residence. Ms. Mercado assured the family members that their loved ones would continue to receive the same amount of services under her leadership and the same amount of religious ministering. She said she is currently working with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to ensure the priests continue to provide pastoral services under her tenure.

Because Ms. Mercado felt so blessed to be chosen out of a large field of candidates to be the next owner of this special home, she commissioned a painting of Saint Jeanne Jugan, also called Sister Mary of the Cross. Saint Jeanne Jugan, the home’s namesake, grew up in France during the French Revolution. At age 47, she began caring for poor elderly women, giving them a place to live and seeking donations of money for their food and clothing. From this beginning arose a religious congregation called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The large painting of her commissioned by Ms. Mercado now hangs in the lobby of the property for all to enjoy.

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