Our retired sisters continue to be powerhouses of prayer and sources of great wisdom.
Looking back 25, 40, 50 years ago and longer, religious sisters were the face of the Church in our schools, parishes, hospitals and social service agencies. These same sisters are now in their 80's and 90's and some of them are well over 100 years old. There are more than 1,700 sisters who have served the Archdiocese of Boston. These sisters have given more than 51,000 years of dedicated service to the Church.
Two important factors leave the sisters and their communities with limited resources for healthcare and retirement expenses. Minimal stipends during their years of service and the inability to join Social Security until 1972 have left a significant shortfall in their current income and assets available to cover retirement and healthcare expenses. The current benefit from Social Security for a sister is $6,300 per year. The average cost to support a retired sister is $41,000. The cost for skilled care is $63,000.
Our retired sisters continue to be powerhouses of prayer and sources of great wisdom. They have lived lives of generous service without counting the cost, and continue to do so. They trust in the Providence of God who has blessed them so abundantly. Sisters provide a wonderful example of aging with grace and dignity. In their retirement, sisters continue to bring encouragement to others in a variety of volunteer ministries in parishes and schools. They serve as tutors, eucharistic ministers and visitors to the homebound. Most sisters will tell you that they never retire and want to continue in ministry as long as they are able. Sisters pray with gratitude for the intentions of the Church of Boston and for all who have been part of their lives.
As we prepare for the collection for the sisters on the weekend of Nov. 19-20, I have three requests. First and foremost, please pray for the success of this collection. Your prayerful support is so important. Second, please be generous as your means allow. Third, and most importantly, if a sister has made a difference in your life, tell her. Call her or send her a card to let her know. If you need help finding a sister, you can always contact me. If the sister is now deceased, pray for her. Pray that God will bless her abundantly for her selfless service to the faithful.
May God bless you for your generosity! May God bless our retired sisters now and in the days ahead!
Sister Marian Batho is the former Delegate of Religious of the Archdiocese of Boston.
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