A LEGACY OF SUPPORT FOR THOSE MOST IN NEED
Catholic sisters have long been at the forefront of identifying and serving unmet community needs. Recognizing the role of Catholic sisters in the social fabric and their unique way of being, ministering and leading, SOCF supports Catholic sisters and their ministries. Since the foundation’s inception, the Catholic sisters program has supported direct service work of sisters, increased awareness of their example of servant leadership, promoted collaboration among congregations of women religious, built capacity of sister-founded/led ministries and fostered relationships between sisters and lay partners.
More specifically, we work to address the challenge posed by the fact that more than half of Sisters in greater Cleveland are expected to retire by 2023. Thus, our work focuses on the future – promoting collaboration among ministries through educational, networking and technical assistance opportunities. Efforts also include educating and engaging lay people – particularly young adults – to partner with Catholic sisters, to further their work in helping the most vulnerable.
Committed to the Future
In 2015, we launched Generative Spirit to grow the capacity of Catholic sisters and their ministries to develop the next generation of lay leaders, building bridges to continue ministry as modeled by Catholic sisters. Our work today and into the future focuses on responding to the changing landscape of Catholic sisters and their ministries as the number of religious women and congregational resources to support Catholic sister ministries is in decline across the nation. In Northeast Ohio in 2017, the average age of Catholic sisters was 75 years old and nearly 80 percent were over 70 years old; 80 percent of these sisters possess an advanced degree. We seek to understand and sustain their model of ministry, nurture collaboration, engage the next generation to respond to the Gospel call of ministry, and share the witness of sisters with the broader community. As the majority of Catholic sisters in our region move on from full-time ministry, this work is ever more important.
To support Catholic sisters and their ministries in Northeast Ohio to meet the needs of God’s most vulnerable people.
- Engage with sister-led and -founded ministries and intercongregational collaborations to strengthen their capacity.
- Identify and form the next generation of lay people who understand and follow the Catholic sister model to become servant leaders in ministry.
- Support ministries of Catholic sisters who provide direct services to those living in and with poverty.
- Through communication and knowledge sharing, elevate innovative stories of Catholic sisters to build awareness of their trailblazing ways.
Experience and Insights
- Continue to nurture collaboration among congregations.
- Elevate innovative stories of Catholic sisters.
- Leverage the capacity of the laity, particularly young adults.
- Respond to the changing needs of sisters today.