Sister Lucy Poulin, who based homeless shelters in Orland and Ellsworth and who was identified all through Maine for her efforts to reduce rural poverty, died this month.
Poulin, who handed away Oct. 14 at her house in East Orland, was 83.
A local of Fairfield who grew to become a Carmelite nun on the age of 26, Poulin went on to determine Homeworkers Organized for Extra Employment — extra generally often known as H.O.M.E. — in Orland in 1970 as a strategy to fight rural poverty.
Over a long time till her retirement in 2016, Poulin’s imaginative and prescient for offering shelter, neighborhood and financial alternative for individuals who lacked such issues grew to incorporate, amongst different issues, a number of workshops, homeless shelters, reasonably priced housing, a soup kitchen and a farm. The significance of such packages has continued to develop in Maine in recent times as Hancock County and far of the state has confronted rising homelessness and housing instability as a consequence of hovering housing prices.
“She impacted hundreds of individuals over her 4 and a half a long time of service,” mentioned Tracey Hair, who began as a consumer at H.O.M.E. after which took over as govt director when Poulin retired. “The opening she has left, it’s greater than we realized.”
H.O.M.E. was established 53 years in the past on a 23-acre website in Orland on the intersection of Faculty Home Highway and Route 1, initially as a crafts cooperative the place native ladies may market quilts, knitwear and different handcrafted gadgets to earn extra cash. In 2016, Poulin instructed the Bangor Day by day Information that just about as quickly as H.O.M.E. opened, she acknowledged a bigger mission to serve the poor of the world with housing, meals, medical care and a cloth sense of neighborhood.
“Mainly, there are three causes individuals come to us,” Poulin mentioned on the time. “They want a spot to reside, they wish to make the world a greater place or they wish to take the Gospels severely.”
She mentioned that taking the Gospels severely consists of honoring the Biblical passage generally often known as the Golden Rule.
“For those who actually love your neighbor as your self,” she mentioned, “you don’t put them in a shelter at evening and throw them out on the road within the morning. The whole lot you may have, you need for them as effectively.”
Poulin mentioned that she paid a worth for her imaginative and prescient and for her hands-on efforts to construct a neighborhood for impoverished individuals. It set her at odds with the extra prayerful Carmelites and led to her expulsion from the order shortly after H.O.M.E. was based, she mentioned.
“The priest instructed me I had ‘an incorrect spirit of poverty,’” she recalled. “I wasn’t contemplative sufficient; I used to be out right here serving to individuals as a substitute. It was very troublesome on the time, however I acquired over it.”
Regardless of being expelled by her former order, Poulin retained her religion and let it information her in her mission of combating poverty, Hair mentioned. She supported advocacy work for individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails and, on the lakefront property that she known as house, offered housing to developmentally disabled adults and animals who wanted a spot to reside.
“Lucy was fast and straightforward to say ‘sure’ to individuals when many mentioned ‘no,’” Hair mentioned. “She welcomes everybody on the desk.”
Hair mentioned that previously yr Poulin had turn into sick – she didn’t go into particulars – and that she obtained hospice care for 3 weeks earlier than she handed away.
Just a few days earlier than she died, Poulin instructed her shut mates and family members that she needed to be buried naturally and in a method that was constant together with her imaginative and prescient of discovering neighborhood and goal via craftsmanship.
“She mentioned she needed a pine coffin constituted of native lumber,” Hair mentioned. “Proper right down to the tip, the work of her fingers was so vital to her.”
The day after Poulin died, mates and family members held a non-public burial at a cemetery website on the Saint Francis Neighborhood in East Orland the place she lived, Hair mentioned. A memorial service that will probably be open to the general public is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Bucksport, in line with her obituary.