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Most of us have wonderful memories of religious sisters. They were our teachers in schools and religious education programs. They were our nurses and caregivers in our Catholic hospitals. Many of the social service agencies under the umbrella of the archdiocese began under the sponsorship religious communities of sisters. Over the years the Archdiocese of Boston has been blessed with the presence of so many sisters who gave themselves untiringly to the service of the Church. These same sisters are now at the age of retirement.
Sisters were not allowed to enter the Social Security System until 1972. Consequently, the retirement benefits for sisters are significantly less than the average social security benefit for women of comparable age and years of work experience. In 2011 sisters face escalating health care and retirement costs.
The mission is always the priority. Then and now sisters are anxious to use their available financial resources for ministry and service to others. At the same time, religious communities are responsible for the health and retirement expenses for each sister and take this responsibility very seriously. Most sisters feel a deep discomfort with this appeal on their behalf. They prefer to keep their need hidden and trust that God will provide.
Although many sisters have retired from ministries that provide compensation to their communities, they continue in volunteer ministries as tutors, visitors to the sick and support staff in schools and health care facilities. The sisters pray continually for all who have been part of their lives and take delight in hearing from former students and those whom they have served over the years.
On the weekend of Nov. 19-20, please remember our sisters and be generous in your support for this collection. There can be no simple accounting for the contribution that the sisters have made and continue to make to the life of the Church in Boston.
Sister Marian Batho, CSJ, is Delegate for Religious of the Archdiocese of Boston.