WASHINGTON — The Little Sisters of the Poor have cared for their elderly and infirm residents through two world wars, the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression and numerous natural disasters.

Now, as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads around the globe, the Little Sisters’ fourth vow of hospitality to the elderly poor is bringing them to the forefront in the fight to protect those most at risk from the virus.

“One of the most challenging pieces of this is that it’s a constantly changing situation,” Little Sister Constance Veit told the Register. “You can think that you kind of have things under control, and then it gets amped up, and what you might have arranged for one afternoon the next morning has to be changed again as the situation becomes more serious.”