Appeal helps religious communities

For The Catholic Messenger

Catholics in the Diocese of Davenport donated almost $60,000 last December to the National Retirement Fund for Religious. Nationwide, $27.7 million was collected and $25 million was disbursed. Among those who received support was Queen of Heaven Carmelite Monastery in Eldridge.

Almost 94 percent of the donations aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder goes to administration and promotion of the national appeal, which takes place Dec. 7-8 in parishes throughout the Davenport Diocese. Across the U.S., some 30,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests benefit.

“We are humbled and profoundly grateful for the countless Catholics who honor the service and witness of senior religious through their prayers and generosity,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, executive director of the National Religious Retirement Office.

Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the Retirement Fund for Religious in 1988 to help address the profound lack of retirement savings among U.S. religious communities. Since the collection’s launch, U.S. Catholics have donated $872 million to the annual appeal.

Despite this generosity, many congregations still struggle to provide for aging members. Most older members of religious communities served for low wages that did not include retirement benefits. Today, numerous communities face a critical shortage in retirement savings. Moreover, retired religious now outnumber wage-earning members, resulting in declining income and a rising cost of care.

Visit retiredreligious.org to learn more.


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