WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities to aid in the care of senior members. The funds were made possible by the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. The most recent appeal raised just over $28 million and was held in a majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2017.
In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religious communities. The NRRO coordinates the annual appeal and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities.
“Traditionally, women and men religious served for little to no pay,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director. “Today, hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings. Proceeds from the annual collection enable our office to distribute financial assistance that helps communities provide for aging members.”
The funding disbursed in June is known as Direct Care Assistance and represents the bulk of financial support distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet a wide range of expenses, including prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for religious communities with the greatest needs and for ongoing education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery. Roughly 94 percent of donations directly aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder are used for administration and promotion of the annual appeal.
“Our mission is to provide financial support and educational assistance that enable religious communities to meet eldercare needs while developing long-range retirement strategies,” said Sister Still. “We are profoundly grateful to the donors across the nation whose generosity and prayers sustain these efforts.”
The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Visit https://retiredreligious.org to learn more.
Judy Keane/USCCB – Public Affairs
File photo, Miscellany/Jeff Blake: Sister Nancy Hendershot, right, comforts Cynthia Hughes of Providence Health Hospital following a memorial service at the hospital’s chapel in Columbia, S.C., in 2016.