IN Belle Vue Road, Leeds, there is a dilapidated house. It has no garden. The occupants are 150 old people. All of them are poor. some are bedridden and at least half of them have no relatives.
This is the situation which Mother Philomena. the Superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor, faces. With 15 other Sisters she looks after the old people.
"Quite frankly," she says, "the house is falling down around us. We really are poor and although we get a little money from the welfare people, it is ex tremely hard to make ends meet."
The Sisters have launched an appeal for a new building but that dream is a long way off. In the meantime, they must go on trying to help the old people in conditions that are far from favourable.
There's one thing the Sisters always do: they give these lonely old people a really bumper Christmas party. But that costs money; money which could go towards the new building fund, So this year I have promised Sister Philomena that the CATHOLIC HERALD readers will take that burden from her. We will pay for the party.
Sister Philomena is already planning the menu. Besides the usual Christmas fare there will be a little extra wine and presents for the old people: sweets for the ladies, tobacco for the men. And for those who want it, she says, there will be a little more beer than usual.