byCaroline Imparato Pilot Correspondent
SOMERVILLE -- The sound of chatter and laughter grew louder as you walked into the Little Sisters of the Poor's 6th annual "Sharing the Vision of St. Jeanne Jugan Fundraising Dinner," which was held at the Center for the Arts Armory in Somerville May 19.
The dinner was preceded by a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley in the chapel of the Jeanne Jugan Residence. Cardinal O'Malley preached on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
"The first Christians were so afraid... But, once they received the Spirit on Pentecost, then they went out and began to announce the Good News," he said.
The annual dinner is the Little Sisters of the Poor's main fundraiser for their residence in Somerville. About 230 people were in attendance.
This year's dinner was the most successful fundraiser yet. Over $100,000 was raised, exceeding the original goal.
The event offered a chance for donors, benefactors, sisters and residents to sit down, share a meal together and listen to various speakers give testimonies of how their lives have been touched by the Little Sisters and their mission in Boston.
"I used to work here in the laundry department, so I saw how wonderful they are and how accommodating. So I put my name in. I chose to live here," said Camilla Giordano, a resident.
"We're all family here. We all help each other out...(It's) the best place to live," she said.
Speakers included master of ceremonies Father Robert Blaney, whose mother is a resident, Mother Maureen, who is the mother superior of the Somerville residence, Nancy Brissette, a resident, Leo Gayne, public relations officer at the East Cambridge Savings Bank and Paul Deeley, a member of the advisory board.
Two special anniversaries were mentioned throughout the evening. The first marks the 150th year since the Little Sisters of the Poor came to the U.S.A. The second was for the 40th anniversary of the Somerville residence. Both were celebrated through a slide show and anecdotes about the Little Sisters.
"The most rewarding for me is the joy that you can give to the elderly," said Sister Elizabeth Leahy, who has been a Little Sister of the Poor for the past 51 years.
"And that's really what our life's about," she added.
The evening also hosted a silent auction where prizes included a football signed by Tom Brady, a Bruin's jersey signed by the 2017-2018 Bruin's team, tickets to see Aladdin the musical, tickets to a Red Sox game and more.