Sister Mary Jean: “yes, we are a dying breed.”

The New York Times reports on the disappearance of nuns from leadership positions at Catholic hospitals. It talks to Sister Mary Jean, the retired chief executive of SSM health care. The story notes: “In 1968, nuns or priests served as chief executives of 770 of the country’s 796 Catholic hospitals, according to the Catholic Health Association. Today, they preside over 8 of 636 hospitals. With Sister Mary Jean’s departure, only 8 of 59 Catholic health care systems are directed by religious executives.”

Sister Mary Jean belongs to the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, which, according to the paper, has not had an “initiate in 25 years” and no longer bothers to recruit. The quote Sister Mary Jean gives to the paper is telling: “‘It was painful,’ Sister Mary Jean said in an interview in her modest apartment, ‘but I think it was also courageous to say we’re just not going to recruit any more. Let’s just live out the rest of our lives to the fullest that we possibly can and thank God for what we’ve been able to do. And when the time comes, as they say, the last person turn the lights out.'”

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