MARCH 21, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday —Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour going over the home where the Little Sisters of the Poor here in Washington care for more than 200 indigent old people. Fifteen sisters do all the work with the help of some of the old people, but the building is large and many of those who live here are very helpless and require great care.
I looked at the little mother superior and wondered how fifteen women accomplished this work. She told me they got up at four-thirty every morning and went to bed at nine o'clock at night, and never sat down to rest or idle away any time. I can well believe it.
However, it isn't just the accomplishment of the work which is so remarkable, it is the spirit in which it is done. The building is far more bright and cheerful than when I went through it some years ago, and one felt that the service rendered there was done in a spirit of joyousness. In every room we went, they sang "God Bless America" and the old voices mingled with the younger voices of visitors who had come in for the occasion.
One colored woman from Cuba, aged 82, sang a Cuban song and danced for me. The sisters urged her on and applauded her. How well they understand that no matter what your age, the ability to make a contribution is one of the satisfactions of life.
At tea time I talked with Dr. Martha M. Eliot, of the Children's Bureau. She is back from England and very much interested in what she learned over there and how we can make it useful in the improvement of our own conditions.
I saw the President off and am glad that he and all those with him are going to have this rest and holiday.
Miss Thompson and I dined with a friend and spent a most enjoyable evening, in payment for which I sat up until all hours of the night to finish the mail.
Today I lunch with the Ladies Club of the 75th Congress and then fly over to New York City to spend the night.
I was much interested the other day in talking with Mr. John Anson Ford of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Gertrude Knott of the American Folk Festival. They are eager to have a Pan-American folk festival in Los Angeles, Cal., this year. The idea seems to me to have merit and to promise something beautiful and interesting, but as yet it is only in the stage of being planned.
I have just received a notice of a book about the Quakers. It is written by ex-President Comfort of Haverford, and called, "Just Among Friends." It is designed to give information about this particular religious group, their activities and philosophy. I think it will be of interest to a great many people.