|Home » News Archives|
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn: From Orphan to Archbishop
Throughout the United States on the weekend of December 8-9 the Church will take up the 25th annual collection for the retired religious. I have a special fondness for all religious because I deeply appreciate the sacrifices that they have made in order to serve God’s people in our country.
Then, as I went on to high school the superior of that school was a Mother Maris Stella [Mahan.] I remember she was principal of the high school and the grade school and superior of the convent with about 16 nuns in it. On a Friday afternoon when I would be leaving school she would call me and tell me to be at the convent on the following morning at nine. She wanted me to have a New York State Regent’s Diploma when I graduated from high school and she spent her Saturday mornings, in which she could have been involved in many other pursuits, going over former Regent’s examinations so that I would be acquainted with them when I would face the examination the following June. She was outstanding in her generosity and I think of that generosity to this day.
I’ve always been fond of religious brothers and sisters. I would be less than honest if I did not say that my experience was solely with the sisters and my heart wells up with gratitude when I think of them. I have observed the Church in the United States. It is a healthy Church. Our U.S. Church has 77 million people. I have thought, and thought often, as to where the Church would be if it were not for the women religious and the men religious. The women religious taught in schools all over our country. They ministered in hospitals. They perform the works of charity. They were the face of the Church in so many different areas as were the brothers. Where would the Church be in the United States without them?
Now we have the opportunity to help them in their need. They do not have the numbers coming into the religious life to support the elderly who need care. They worked for small stipends and any other surplus income was reinvested in community ministries. As a result they need our help now and they need it badly. It is my hope and prayer that the American Catholics will show their gratitude to these valiant Religious by being generous in this great collection
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn is archbishop emeritus of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
Sister Mary Rose Eagan Sister Maris Stella Mahan