Published On: Fri, Jul 30th, 2021

Decline of American Nuns Costs Charities Billions

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A generation ago, about 181,000 Catholic women in religious orders provided Americans with affordable healthcare and effective private schools. Today, only 38,000 are left struggling to run charity organizations designed for nearly five times their number, leading schools and hospitals to close or privatize. In American history, nuns and sisters in religious orders have been a quiet but influential force for good. Nuns focus on contemplation, while sisters focus on service. In 1960, sisters provided one in five hospital beds and educated about one in 10 American children. According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, sisters worked on salaries that were often only a third of what other employees at Catholic religious institutions were paid. In 1965, this foregone salary saved Catholic schools alone an estimated $3.5 billion in 2017 dollars. There’s also a quality difference between charity institutions run by sisters and institutions run by …

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