Retirement Fund for Religious is a gift of thanksgiving

CHARLESTON—A special collection to help retired religious will be held in the Diocese of Charleston on Dec. 8.

The Retirement Fund for Religious collection benefits orders such as the Monas­tery of St. Clare in Travelers Rest, whose sisters use the money to help provide the skilled medical care their sisters may need.

“There are so many sisters who have given their lives to service,” said Sister Stella Maris Craven, of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston, who spoke to The Miscellany in an earlier interview. “After spending a lifetime caring for others … they should be cared for and well cared for.”

The fund benefits 31,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests—women and men who have consecrated their lives to serving God and the Church.

Traditionally, sisters, brothers, and religious order priests serve the Church and their communities their entire working lives, earning small stipends that do not include retirement benefits. As a result, many communities lack adequate retirement savings. At the same time, health-care costs continue to soar while the number of religious earning a stipend declines.

The U.S. bishops launched the retirement fund collection in 1988 to address the profound deficit in retirement funds among the nation’s religious com­munities.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone describes the men and women religious as “the hands of Christ as they educated the young, cared for the sick, and ministered to the neediest among us.”

The bishop asks that everyone give what they can in thanks for their faithful service.

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