Say thank you to the sisters who have given so much

Throughout the years, the Archdiocese of Boston has been blessed with the presence of many religious communities of sisters. They have taught in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. Sisters have been an integral part of parishes serving as pastoral associates and parish visitors. They have served as nurses and administrators in Catholic health care facilities. Sisters have always been involved in ministries focused on caring for others. Generations of Catholics are the beneficiaries of the dedicated service of sisters. You may have a special memory of a Sister who had a profound influence on your life or the lives of the members of your family.

These same sisters are now at the age of retirement. During their years of service, the sisters received minimal stipends and retirement planning was never a consideration. All of their available financial resources, including stipends and gifts, were usually re-invested in ministries of service to others.

Sisters were not allowed to enter the Social Security System until 1972. Thus, the retirement benefits that they now receive are significantly less than the average social security benefit for women of comparable age and years of work experience.

The average annual Social Security benefit for a Sister is $5,123.43. In 2013, the average annual cost for their care was $39,400. Most sisters feel a deep discomfort with an 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 religious 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. 22-23 we count on your prayerful and generous support for the Collection for Retired Sisters. There can be no simple accounting of the contribution that the sisters have made and continue to make to the life of the Church of Boston.


- Sister Marian Batho is the former Delegate of Religious of the Archdiocese of Boston.