Giving to those who have given a lifetime.
Before Mass began, one of the most beloved nuns ever to serve our parish, Sr. D spoke to us on behalf of retired men and women religious who are in need of our support in their retirement years. I love Sr. D and she probably doesn't even know who I am. She is a living icon of charity and kindness, whenever you encounter her, she has a warm, friendly smile and is the epitome of hospitality. Her talk was as good as any homily. When finished, she humbly left the sanctuary, and Mass began. Sr. D is from an order of sisters who no longer wear the habit, and whose congregation has dwindled over the years. Sister entered in 1960!
As she spoke, I couldn't help but think of 'The Nuns On The Bus' troupe, traveling the country. I imagine Sr. D knows these women - or at least knows of them and their purpose. I don't know her position on the issues they champion. I don't know her spirituality, much less her soul. I felt sad that people have mocked and condemned the sisters so severely. I felt worse, thinking that within these congregations of religious women are dedicated, faithful sisters, who sacrificed their lives for Christ and his Church - you and me. When we condemn these congregations, we condemn the individual religious, some of whom may be saints.
Things have changed, and some orders are dwindling and dying, making way for new congregations to meet the need of our times. It is like the seed which falls to the ground and dies, only to regenerate. Let the experts perform the autopsy after they have gone. In the meantime, it is a work of mercy to care for the aged and infirm. I hope everyone will forget their politics and remember and support the many elderly nuns, brothers and priests in their retirement years.
As for 'dying' congregations, it remains a work of mercy to bury the dead. The Church is obliged - you and I - to care for them, by prayer and charitable contributions.
We've got to love one another.
Link: Retirement Fund for Religious