Sunday, August 06, 2006


I attended a college alumni reception last week and caught up with one of my former professors and got updates on a few others. I was pleased to discover that a couple of old professors who were old when I was sitting in their classrooms are now enjoying retirement in good health.

That got me thinking about my pre-collegiate days in Catholic school, and the nuns. There were a lot of them back then. Those who are still living must be really old.

This AP Story I spotted in the Daily News of Longview, WA, confirms just that. It reports that the majority of nuns living today are over the age of 70. These aging nuns, priests and brothers are a growing population. Apparently funding religious retirements is creating a looming financial crisis that dwarfs the $1 billion plus the Catholic church has paid out in sex abuse settlements.

Though billions of dollars have been salted away, there still remains an unfunded future liability of $8.7 billion for current nuns, priests and brothers in religious orders. The financial hole is projected by a consulting firm to exceed $20 billion by 2023.

A June survey by the church's National Religious Retirement Office, not yet released to the public, puts spending for retiree care at $926 million last year alone. That compares with a total of $499 million received over the last 18 years from annual special parish collections to aid retirees.
The majority of retired religious are nuns. So, the sisters are set to feel the biggest blow.

Between 1965 and 2005, their numbers plummeted from 179,954 to 68,634, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. With far fewer younger novices being recruited, the majority of sisters are now more than 70 years old, the retirement office's new survey said. Even though sisters usually work until age 75, caring for the retired population is a huge task.
Susan is doing her part, joining the ranks of the Groovy Sisters. For the rest of us, financial contributions are always welcome. According to the NRRO, 172 of the nation's 195 dioceses participate in its annual appeal, which is in its 20th year. For more info, you can email


At 4:49 PM, December 28, 2006, Blogger Leticia said...

The nuns here on Long Island are aging, however their vocations are also nil, and they are sitting on some of the most valueable real estate around. . waterfront mansions, for example. Solution, SELL OFF PROPERTY!!
Live those vows of poverty.


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