If every child had a Sister Paulanne in his or her life, we would have a vastly better world.
Every child would have someone to provide help and stability to his or her family when it’s most needed. And every child would learn that giving to the less fortunate is an important part of life.
Sister Paulanne has been a beloved, iconic member of Glenview’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) parish and teacher in the school for decades.
Since the early 1960s at OLPH, she has been saying “yes” to every person who knocks on her door in the middle of the night because they are homeless, hungry or living with children in their car. This developed into the Needy Family Fund in 1975.
“We can’t stand by and say that it doesn’t matter. Because it does matter!” she declares with such passion that I’m sure I hear God speaking. “1.6 million children are homeless. All of them need food, shelter, a stable family life and good education. Their parents need gas in their cars to get to work.”
Community members drop off food, supplies and home furnishings at the “Sharing Room” almost every day of the year. They also donate cash and gift cards.
Sister’s moral imperative has developed into an important component of the school’s curriculum, too. Students learn to give from an early age.
“When students bring me $5 from money they earned caddying or babysitting, their birthday money or gift cards, I tell them that they have made an incredible difference in other people’s lives and that they have to continue this.” She pauses, “It’s as important as what they have learned at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help in math, science, arts, literature and in their faith. They have to carry this on to better the world.”
Her message clearly sticks. As we tour the “Sharing Room,” two 30-something men arrive and start unloading supplies from their car. Their expressions evolve from that of self-conscious schoolboys (which they once were in her classroom) to giant grins because Sister calls them by name and sprints over to give them hugs and blessings.
“The moral code in our lives must be to help other people have a better life,” Sister declares once more. And it’s easy to see that she’s right.
If you would like to support Sister Paulanne’s good works, donate to the Needy Family Fund online or send a check via mail to:
Sister Paulanne Held
1772 Glenview Road
Glenview, Illinois 60025