WASHINGTON—The National ReligiousRetirement Office (NRRO) distributed $23 million in financial assistance inJune to 439 religious communities to aid in the care of their senior members.The funds were made possible by the annual Retirement Fund for Religiouscollection, which benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and priests inreligious orders. The most recent collection raised over $29 million and washeld in the majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2012.
Catholicbishops in the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious in 1988to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religiouscommunities. The NRRO, formerly the Tri-Conference Retirement Office, wasestablished to coordinate the annual collection and to distribute the proceedsto religious communities in need. Today, the organization is sponsored by theConference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors ofWomen Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR),and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Traditionally,Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests—known collectively aswomen and men religious—served for small stipends that did not includeretirement benefits. As a result, many religious communities now lack adequatesavings for retirement and elder care.
Religious communities arefinancially autonomous and thus responsible for the care of their seniormembers. Most support elder care through their own income and savings, and manyalso participate in government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and SocialSecurity. Annual allocations from the Retirement Fund for Religious supplementthese funds and help underwrite a variety of needs, such as prescriptionmedications and nursing care.
Thefunding disbursed this week is known as Direct Care Assistance and representsthe majority of financial assistance distributed by the NRRO. Additionalfunding will be allocated for religious communities with the greatest needs andfor ongoing education in retirement planning and elder-care delivery.Ninety-three percent of donations aid elderly religious and their communities,while the remaining seven percent are used for administration and promotion ofthe annual appeal.
"Wecontinue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of Catholics acrossthe nation who faithfully support our senior religious each year," said NRROExecutive Director Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the MostPrecious Blood of O'Fallon, Missouri. "With this support, many religiouscommunities have been able to transform their retirement crises into manageableconcerns."
More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.
Keywords: National Religious Retirement office, NRRO,retired religious, nuns, Sister Janice Bader, bishops, Catholic
# # # # #MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Sr. Mary Ann WalshO: 202-541-3200M: 301-325-7935Email
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