NEW YORK (AP) — Through more than 200 years, the Sisters of Charity of New York nursed Civil War casualties, joined civil rights and anti-war demonstrations, cared for orphans, and taught countless children.They’re proud of their history of selfless service. But they can’t ignore their current reality: The congregation continues to shrink and age — and not a single new sister has joined their U.S. group in more than 20 years.
After much prayer and contemplation, they made a tough decision that marked the beginning of the Catholic congregation’s end. They will no longer accept new members, and announced in an April 27 statement that they are now on a “path to completion.”
Sister Margaret Egan recalled that day and the emotional silence that filled the meeting room on their leafy Bronx campus when she and the other members of the order’s executive council accepted their reality and charted a new future. Grasping a roster of every sister who had ever served the congregation, they honored the women who preceded them.
“We just held up that book and said, ‘They’re here with us.’ (It’s) recognition that we’ve all done what God asked us to do,” said Egan, sitting in that same meeting room days after the announcement.
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