Phone: 216-696-6525

Toll Free: 1-800-869-6525

Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic

  Share this Page

Back to news list

Retirement Fund for Religious collection assists elderly in religious orders

News of the Diocese

December 9, 2020

Retirement Fund for Religious collection assists elderly in religious orders

This weekend, Dec. 12-13, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland will conduct the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection. The appeal is conducted by the National Religious Retirement Office, which coordinates the collection and distributes proceeds to assist eligible members of religious communities across the country with their retirement needs. Nearly 30,000 sisters, brothers and religious order priests benefit from the collection.

Anyone who makes a donation to the collection in the name of Sister Rochelle Guertal, OSST, who served as director of the diocesan Office for Religious and superior of the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity, will be invited to join a livestreamed Mass celebrated by Father Dan Schlegel, diocesan vicar for clergy and religious. The Mass will be at noon Jan. 6, 2021 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Sister Guertal, who died in late August after a short battle with cancer, worked tirelessly to promote the collection.

Last year, the diocese donated $284,504.70 to the fund. During 2020, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Sisters of the Holy Spirit, Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity and St. Andrew Abbey received financial support made possible by the collection.

“The generosity of U.S. Catholics enables us to continue our ministry for aging women and men religious,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, NRRO’s executive director. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude.

This year, a senior woman religious from the Cleveland Diocese, Sister Anne Cecile Muldoon, is among those featured in the promotional materials. Sister Muldoon, 93, has been a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland for 75 years. She ministered for 50 years in Catholic education and transitioned to other ministries before officially retiring at age 87. She continues to volunteer at her community.

The Catholic bishops of the U.S. began the collection in 1988 to help address the deficit in retirement funding among religious congregations in the country. Each congregation is responsible for the care and support of its members. Financial distributions from the collection are sent to a congregation’s central house and they can be applied toward immediate expenses such as medications or nursing care, or invested for future elder care needs.

Historically, Catholic brothers and sisters and religious order priests served for little to no pay, so today, many religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings. Of 531 communities that provided data to NRRO, only 29 are adequately funded for retirement. Rising health care costs and a growing number of senior members compound the challenge to meet retirement expenses.

The 2019 collection raised $26.2 million. In June, NRRO disbursed $25 million in financial assistance to 341 religious communities. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for resources and services that help communities improve elder care delivery and plan for long-term retirement needs. A new webinar offers professional guidance on adapting care protocols to address issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

“During these trying times, we know the best way to support senior religious is to continue helping their communities address retirement and elder care challenges,” Sister Still said. “Our grateful prayer is with all whose love and generosity sustain this mission.”

Secure, online donations can be made at or donations can be mailed to Office for Religious, 1404 E. 9th St., sixth floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Make checks payable to Diocese of Cleveland/RFR.

Click here to learn more.

Subscribe! Sign up to receive news & updates.

Share This


Photo Gallery

1 of 22