Help provide for retired religious Dec. 1-2

Published: November 30, 2018

En Español

The annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held Dec. 1-2 in the Diocese of Little Rock. Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), the appeal benefits 31,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests whose religious congregations lack adequate retirement funding. Last year, Catholics in the Diocese of Little Rock donated $152,119.59 to this collection.

In 2018, two religious communities with central houses located in Arkansas received financial support from the Retirement Fund for Religious. They are: Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco and the Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus in Little Rock. Religious communities apply annually for financial support from the national collection, and distributions are sent to each eligible community’s central house.

Arkansas Catholic is featuring 10 religious men and women celebrating special anniversaries in its Dec. 1 issue. They have dedicated their lives in service to the Church, one for the past 85 years. Read their storiesThese religious continue to serve in any way they can, even in retirement.

Nationally, donations to the 2017 Retirement Fund for Religious appeal were more than $28 million, and the NRRO distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities across the United States. Communities use these funds to increase retirement savings and subsidize necessities such as prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for communities with critical needs and for resources on retirement planning and eldercare.

Despite ongoing support for the national appeal, the need remains profound. For each of the last 10 years, the total cost of care for senior women and men religious has exceeded $1 billion. At the same time, most religious communities lack adequate retirement savings because older members served for little to no pay. Historically low compensation also impacts current income. Based on NRRO data, the average annual Social Security benefit for a religious is just $6,453.45.