By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
While shopping in a food store, two nuns happened to pass the beer cooler. One nun said to the other, “Wouldn’t a nice cold beer or two taste wonderful on a hot summer’s evening?”
The second nun answered “Indeed it would Sister, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable buying beer. I am certain that it would cause a scene at the check-out counter.”
“I can handle that without a problem” she replied as she picked up a six-pack and headed for the check-out. The cashier had a surprised look on his face when the two nuns arrived with a six-pack of beer.
“We use beer for washing our hair” the nun said, “A shampoo, of sorts, if you will.” Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter, pulled out a package of pretzel sticks and placed them in the bag with the beer. He then looked the nun straight in the eye, smiled and said, “The curlers are on the house.”
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 closer we would discover that those nuns were unjustly treated. They were not justly salaried.
Where are those nuns today? Well, many of them have gone on to their eternal reward. Others are in nursing homes where their religious 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, they received no money to put aside for their old age.
The Bishops and priests across the country have 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 the sick and dying. 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.
The National Religious Retirement Organization is handling the collected funds. They distribute these funds to the needy communities of religious sisters, brothers or priests who are living the consecrated life. The NRRO also has a consulting branch which helps religious orders financially plan for the future. This consulting group has annualized our Redemptorist financial status. They offered drastic suggestions. As a result the provincial government has moved its offices to St. Michael’s parish in Chicago and sold the provincial residence in Denver. The Redemptorists also decided to discontinue our Health Care Facility and merge with another, more established health care institutions.
Next weekend, December 9 – 10, we will have a second collection for Retired Religious. You will find an envelope in your contribution packets. Thank you for your goodness and generosity.
Mother Superior was on her deathbed. The other nuns gathered around her bedside. Mother Superior asked for something to drink. As they were bringing a glass of milk, one of the younger nuns suggested 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!”
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.