Wednesday, September 28, 2011
THE FUTURE OF RELIGIOUS SISTERS IS STRONG OR IS IT?
Sr. Sandra Schneiders speaks St. Mary’s College in Indiana Sept. 24. You can read the National Catholic Reporter's story on it by pressing these sentences.
I have no problem with aging people, whether they are sisters, brothers, priests or parents. I have a 92 year old mother!
But I do sense that many aging religious sisters and brothers are in a grand state of denial about what has happened in the last 45 years and that in another 20 years or even less, most of their communities will be dead.
The only ones really thriving are the more visibly conservative ones, who still wear a habit, even modified, and live in community rather than as bachelors and have a specified ministry or two, like teaching, medical care or assisting the poor in a variety of ways.
I hope the aging sisters have a happy, active retirement and a blessed death.
In Macon, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mt. de Sales Academy as well as St. Joseph School. In the 1960's there were upwards of 40 sisters of Mercy living in Macon in community staffing both schools. Today there are no sisters in either school and only two retired Sisters of Mercy who live independently of one another. Both though are active in their retirement. May God bless them with more years and good health.
I pray that religious life re-blossoms through communities that are vibrant and strong, such as the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, the Poor Clares of Birmingham and the worldwide Daughters of Charity. It's in communities like these attracting the young where the future of religious life will either be reborn or have its last hurray.