Redefining retirement

Posted on: May 2, 2016 3:00 pm
Tags: Retirement, Lourdes hall,

What does retirement mean for a Sister of Notre Dame? 

An Internet search for “retirement” yields mostly fishing and 401(k)-related results. For an SND, fishing is something we do on Fridays during Lent and prudent financial planning will always be a must. Beyond that, retirement is a prayerful, engaging chapter of our lives. With less to do, we have found we can do so much more.

What does retirement mean to these Sisters of Notre Dame?

Sr. Mary Patricia Kenney with homemade bread she baked for the SND Paying it Forward Together Day in April 2016.

Sr. Mary Patricia Kenney

At 81, I’m just grateful I can volunteer at the Parish Kitchen and be a sister presence at CCD at St. Agnes Church. I can share with eight second graders God’s love and goodness as I help the parents prepare the children for First Communion and Reconciliation.  I have six kindergarteners with whom I can tell Bible stories and act them out, so they will remember them. This is a start in sharing God’s word with them and hopefully beginning their spiritual life as we learn a morning prayer and night prayer.

My service at Julie Learning Center includes teaching the children Bible stories, while at the Notre Dame Urban Education Center I am able to help the children with their homework. Through both of these ministries, they see that God cares for them and their needs.   

As I bring Jesus to St. Charles Community residents by distributing Holy Communion to those in their rooms, in Adult Day Care, and wherever He is needed, I pray with them and share God’s love and goodness.  

Transporting the Sisters where they need to go shows my Sisters God’s love and His provident care for their needs and God’s love for me to give me the health to do this. Praise God.  Amen. 


Sr. Mary Francello Orth in the Lourdes Hall Chapel.

Sr. Mary Francello Orth

My sixty-two years of being in education, as teacher and principal, are happy memories of helping children. Now my years of retirement are gratefully received. This is a time of much gratitude to God for His blessings of an enjoyable life. It is a time to have more time for prayer for the numerous needs of the world. It is a time to spend with my Sisters, which I really was unable to do before with my many duties. Most of all it is a time to spend with Jesus for so many souls who are starving for His love. This is a precious time to give to God for all He has given to me.


Sr. Mary Kevan Seibert (left) with Sr. Janet Marie Hoffman.

Sr. Mary Kevan Seibert

In retirement, I pray my regular daily prayers (morning and evening prayer, Mass, meditation, rosary, spiritual reading). And, I add to that: prayers for all who minister to me-nurses, Sisters who minister at Mass, people who work in the building and at our ministry sites. I tell all who help me in any way that I remember them in my prayer-and I do! I pray for my family, relatives, friends, and the needs of the world.

Being retired means to me:

  • Being with the community for all community prayers, meals, etc.
  • Contributing to the life of the communiy by serving at Portress, which is our reception office.
  • Teaching religion to the Sisters in Lourdes Hall on Friday mornings.

Each day I pray, I read, and I snooze. Sometimes my prayer turns into snooze, sometimes my reading turns into snooze, and sometimes I simply snooze!


Retirement FAQ

When is a sister retired?

You may have noticed that retirement for a Sister of Notre Dame is not necessarily contigent upon age. A sister is retired when she no longers serves in a compensated ministry. 

How does a sister retire?

Sisters communicate regularly with the province ministry coordinator and provincial superior about the status of their ministry positions. When it seems like retirement should be the next step, the three work together to decide how to proceed. 

What does a sister do when she retires?

Retired sisters reside at the SND Provincial House in Covington, KY or at a community convent. Retirement can include many things--prayer, community volunteer work, or assisting with duties at the provincial house.  Sisters retire from compensated ministry, but never from religious life and the mission of Jesus. 

What is Lourdes Hall Care Center?

Lourdes Hall is a residential wing of the SND Provincial House. Sisters who require skilled nursing care or assistance live here. This includes some retired sisters, as well as any sisters in active ministry who need temporary assistance. 

Who works in Lourdes Hall?

Sr. Mary Virginia Bruemmer and Sr. Mary Lourita Warken provide pastoral care to the sisters in Lourdes Hall. With the help of nursing staff, an activities coordinator, and dedicated lay and sister volunteers, Lourdes Hall is a community within the community.

What activities are offered in Lourdes Hall?

Bus rides, social events, pen pal programs, reading, educational programming, worship and prayer, and the “Memories in the Making” program are just a few examples. Lourdes Hall community-building fosters the sisters’ holistic well-being and health, so that they can continue to minister, especially through a life of prayer.

Why do sisters continue to minister in retirement?

Pope Francis called on women religious to know the needs of the world. Volunteer work and the activities in  Lourdes Hall keep sisters engaged, so they know what the needs of the world are! 

How do sisters afford retirement?

The SND Retirement Fund allows the Covington Province to pay for sisters’ current retirement needs and plan for the future.

Mary Ellen Millar
Date: on May 9, 2016

The women who come to the Heights for a weekend retreat ask to take a break and go to Lourdes Hall to visit the sisters there. The women enjoy being with the sisters.

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