By: Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.,
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
The Little Sisters of the Poor were going from door to door in a French city, soliciting alms for old people.
One nun called at the house of a rich frethinker who said he would give 1,000 francs if she would enjoy a glass of champagne with him.
Sister immediately recalled her rule of religious life which forbad the nuns to partake of alcoholic beverages. But, 1,000 francs would but many loaves of bread for the poor. What to do! What would Christ do? She quickly remembered how Christ broke the rule of the Sabbath as he healed a crippled man. Surely God would forgive her if she broke the rule of her religious life to feed the hungry.
Sister smiled and siad to the freethinker, “Yes, I will enjoy a glass of champagne with you.” A servant brought the bottle and poured each of them a glass of sparkling champagne. They toasted each other and sister chug-a-lugged her glass of champagne. She then set the glass in front of the freethinker and said, “And now sir, another glass, please at the same price.”
The freethinker was taken by surprise and he honored sister’s second request.
Sister was explaining the procedures for a fire drill to her grade school students. “In the event of fire,” she said, “I will be the first to leave. You will follow me.”
A young boy, a bit irritated whispered to his buddy, “Why should Sister go out first?” Without blinking an eye, his buddy said, “Because kids you can get out anytime, but Sisters are hard ti find.”
I think the kid was on to something. Sisters are hard to find these days. Many of us remember the days when a nun taught in every classroom. Those were the good OLE days. But were they that good. If we look close we would discover that those nuns were unjustly treated. They were not salaried. They were given a pittance to live on.
Where are those nuns today? Well, many of them have gone on to their eternal reward. Others are in nursing homes where their relligious orders are caring for them. In many instances, the religious orders are struggling to provide dignified care for the ailing sisters who dedicated their lives to teaching. Unfortunately, when these nuns were active, their financial pay was so minimal that they wer not able to save for their retirement years.
The Bishops and priests across the country have recognized the situation of the elderly nuns. They owned up to the injustices which the church rendered to all those teaching nuns. In 1988 the Bishops established a Retirement Fund for Religious. Each year a collection is taken for retired religious. The money is distributed to the religious orders to care for their sick anddying. an average of 25 million dollars has been collected annually from all the parishes across the country.
Today, this money is used to care for many of those nuns who taught us. Yes, the nuns gave thousands of kids a wonderful education. Because of the nuns, those kids grew up, graduated from college and launched profitable careers. Now we are asking those same people to share some of their earnings to care for the aging nuns who gave them such a wonderful start in life.
On the weekend of December 12-13, there will be a second collection for the retirement Fund for Religious. If you were blessed to have a nun teach you, you may now give a financial blessing to her in her retirement years. Even if you did not have nuns for your education, you are welcome to make a donation.
Mother Superior was on her deathbed. The other nuns gathered around her bedside. Mother Superiou aksed for something to drink. As they were bringing a glass of milk, one of the the younger nuns suggested that they spike the milk with a splash of Irish whiskey to energize their superior. After drinking the milk, color came back to Mother Superior’s face. A sparkle flashed in her eyes. Seeing sister so chipper, one of the nuns asked, “Mother Superior, before you pass on to your eternal happiness, do you have some final words for us?” Mother Superior paused a moment, smacked her lips, then said, “For God’s sake, don’t sell that cow!”
We are coming to the end of the year of Consecrated Life. Let us say ‘Thank You’ to the many religious who have fiven a lifetime to God and to His Holy Church.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.