The Annual Retirement Fund for Religious Collection will be held Dec. 5-6 throughout the Diocese of Orlando. This collection offers support for our retired Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests whose communities lack adequate retirement funding.
“There are many communities that are unable to take care of their elderly,” said Dominican Sisters of Peace Maureen Cannon, Coordinator for the Retirement Fund for Religious for the Diocese of Orlando. Sister Maureen is a Lector at Ascension Parish in Melbourne and previously served in campus ministry and faith formation for over 20 years. “A variety of communities have not been in the position to save an awful amount of money over the years. That is why the smallest amount helps all of us tremendously.”
The deficit in retirement funding can be attributed to three primary factors: insufficient retirement savings, rising healthcare costs and declining income. Many communities aren’t able to provide sufficient food and medical care services for religious sisters. Traditionally, sisters who served at schools and parishes received little or no salary. Throughout the years, religious orders lacked savings for retirement.
In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding. Since then, the NRRO has distributed $718 million to communities in desperate need. Over 93 perfect of donations to the Retirement Fund for Religious aid senior religious and 7 percent are used for promotional and administrative expenses.
The National Religious Retirement Office—formerly the Tri-Conference Retirement Office—has coordinated this collection for the past 28 years. The 2014 appeal raised $28.3 million with the Diocese of Orlando contributing $184,613.37 from 2014’s collection total.
In Florida the following religious communities continue to benefit from the generosity of those who partake in the annual collection: Christ the King Monastery in Delray Beach, Sisters of St. Clare in Largo, and Claretian Missionary Sisters in Miami.
Although there are no communities based in the Diocese of Orlando that receive funding, men and women religious who serve or have served in the Diocese still benefit from the appeal through distributions sent to their motherhouses.
“We are entirely grateful for the assistance of those who continue to contribute during this annual collection. It is crucial to take care of those who are in great need,” said Sister Maureen.