The average age of the LCWR is…

…74.

73s!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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42 Responses to The average age of the LCWR is…

  1. Augustin57 says:

    I’m not in the least surprised. Look like the Lord will take care of the problem one way or the other, at least through attrition.

    I am reminded of when my first cousin took her final vows as a nun at St. Cecelia’s in Nashville (Dominicans). Her grade school teacher and her principle (Sisters of Mercy) were there. The grade school teacher was the younger (late 50′s?), and had street clothes on. The older nun at least had a habit on. We spent 3 days there, among the 150 or so Dominican nuns in full habits, replete with full smiles and a sort of glow to them. The younger nun in street clothes saw all this and ended up in tears. I’m pretty sure she saw the big picture.

  2. Andrew says:

    I wonder why so many religious orders continue to pay dues to this organization? What do they benefit from their membership?

  3. disco says:

    It’s a good thing polyester pant suits never fade…

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Andrew, the “members” have real power.

  5. ContraMundum says:

    And the average age of the College of Cardinals is? Probably about the same.

    The telling stat is the average age of all members of those orders contributing to the LCWR, not to the actual leadership itself.

  6. Maynardus says:

    @Disco – hah! Around here we refer to their ilk as the “pantsuit sisterhood”!

  7. acardnal says:

    Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now

    Need I say more?

  8. Their average age is 735? Maybe things were just looser before the Black Death.

  9. Dr Guinness says:

    Managing to slip more and more ham stuff in there, eh Father?

  10. chonak says:

    And 88s to the ladies!

  11. EXCHIEF says:

    chonak
    If the 88′s was intended for the LCWR most of them aspire to be OM’s rather than YL’s so I think 73 is more in order.

  12. Fr. Z,

    Just a practical note about the ham radio lingo. I was always taught when studying for my ham radio license not to add the “s” to 73. Because 73 already means “best regards,” saying 73s is like saying “best regards(es).” Many hams take this double plural to be the sign of a bad operator.

    We wouldn’t want Fr. Z to turn out to be a LID, now would we? :)

  13. Athelstan says:

    Hello Fr. Z,

    The number I have seen (from CARA) is 79.

    But even that is based on information several years old, based on data provided by the orders themselves, unverified by any outside authority. In short, they are almost certainly older than we are led to believe (whatever number we have).

    The CMSWR sisters are, of course, considerably younger on average . . .

  14. Athelstan says:

    P.S. Average age of the Ann Arbor Dominicans (Dominican Sisters of Mary): 28.

    We can see where the future lies.

  15. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the average age of sisters in positions of leadership in their orders, not of the orders at large. I mention this because one or two of us is already comparing apples to oranges. Not that the point hasn’t been made; it simply doesn’t need that kind of help.

  16. acardnal says:

    @manwithablackhat:
    I am not sure you are right about that. Do you have a source?

  17. Bryan Boyle says:

    EtVerbumCaroFactumEst: well, at least the good Father didn’t say “10-4 good buddy”. We can work on the fine tuning as we go…when he starts throwing q-codes on sideband…that’s my bugaboo. Just say it, in my book. Save the q-whatever for the cw ends of the band.

    (Yeah, I heard a 10 code slip up on 75M this morning. Sigh. Now, why did we do away with the morse code requirement? Just sayin’….)

    73 de wbOyle

  18. NoraLee9 says:

    We call ‘em (mainly the Ursulines at Catherine’s school) Sister Mary No-Habits.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    EtVerbo & Brian,
    At least he didn’t say 88! :-)

  20. frjim4321 says:

    Athelstan says at 2 June 2012 at 10:35 am:
    P.S. Average age of the Ann Arbor Dominicans (Dominican Sisters of Mary): 28.
    We can see where the future lies.

    Well, there are statistics and there are statistics.
    What is the average longevity of lcwr sisters compared to the upstart retro orders?

    Also, we know little about the standards that are used for determining entry to these orders, comparatively.

  21. ContraMundum says:

    I am not sure you are right about that. Do you have a source?

    Yeah, it’s the name itself: Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The demographics of the leadership conference can be expected to be different (and generally older) than the demographics of the orders as a whole: hence my earlier comparison with the College of Cardinals.

    An analogous comparison would be the US House of Representatives, or the Congress as a whole, compared with the United States. If you were to project the male/female ratio from that to the country as a whole, would you get a good estimate? No. Is the average age of the Congress close to the average age of the country? No. Is the average wealth of the Congress similar to that of the country? No! Our national leadership is not “typical” of the nation as a whole.

  22. Mark Scott Abeln says:

    ACK
    BEL
    EOT

  23. ContraMundum says:

    What is the average longevity of lcwr sisters compared to the upstart retro orders?

    It is obviously not possible to talk about the average longevity of living persons, or even living orders. That’s even before we consider the question of what counts as “life”. A quote from The Princess Bride seems appropriate in that context:

    Miracle Max: There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
    Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
    Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

  24. New Sister says:

    Our pastor asked if we knew the difference between an RN and an LPN — “Real Nun” and “Lapel Pin Nun” :-)

  25. frjim4321 says:

    ContraMundum, if I get your point and I think I do then it’s entirely irrelevant what that average ages of sisters is in either group.

  26. benedetta says:

    The newer orders getting many vocations are happily, prayerfully, actively pro-life. There is a big difference right there. And, from my anecdotal experience with both, those in the newer religious orders are not just a little, not just youthfully, but even where the age is older, are much more joyful in their vocations. There is an obvious contentment that goes with the willingness to serve. And, did I mention, they are openly and unabashedly, unapologetically, pro-life? Their willingness to be of service to prolife in general speaks of their profound hope for our future.

  27. thefeds says:

    The average age of the LCWR is….. Old enough to know better, as my mother used to say to me!

  28. The Cobbler says:

    Father Jim, you realize you’re talking about Dominicans in that example there (2 June 2012 at 3:26 pm), right? Haven’t they just stuck with what they’ve done and been for centuries, contrary to your characterization of “upstart retro orders”? And have there been complaints against them for sloppy practices or for not keeping and taking care of their elders and I just never heard of it? I thought they were essentially the one Catholic order that as a whole has never been in any remotest danger of A) going heterodox, B) going abusive or C) going obscure/extinct; in which case, while it must be admitted that a young average age is meaningless without also knowing what happens to older Dominicans that they’re so outnumbered, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt (oh, and not call them or let anyone else carelessly call them “upstart retro” as if they were new and/or suddenly decided to turn back the clock if as far as I know they’re just not throwing out what they’ve always done… sorry to be picky, but words mean things).

  29. frjim4321 says:

    Cobbler:

    Hi. There are all kinds of Dominican, Franciscans, Notre Dames, etc.; and certainly lot of different kinds of Poor Claires.

    So I don’t know how that works into your theory.

  30. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “I thought they (the Dominicans) were essentially the one Catholic order that as a whole has never been in any remotest danger of . . going heterodox”

    Alas, there are convents and priories of the Order Preachers (Dominicans) that have been infiltrated by the Spirit of Vatican II in its Leftist-Hinky Iteration, that is, very much at odds with the authentic and genuine Spirit of Vatican II and with the Spirit of all other Church Councils, all of which are very much in communion with the Magesterium of the Church, past and present.

  31. ContraMundum says:

    @frjim4321

    Yes, the age of a living person can only be used to provide a lower bound to that person’s longevity. That person’s actual longevity is only speculative. Your question about the comparison of the newer orders to the older orders therefore cannot be answered, either for the living members of an order or for a living order.

    And, as I mentioned, it matters what one means by “life”. There are, for example, groups in existence today that claim to be the remnant of the Knights Templar. They use the name, and they make the claim, but they do not really match up with the original and unquestionably genuine Knights Templar. Is it reasonable to count the Knights Templar as a “living” order? If not, the question naturally arises: name and claim aside, how far can an order stray from its original founding and historical identity and still be considered a living continuation of the original order?

  32. jaykay says:

    “upstart retro orders”

    Dear God! So much confusion. As you say in the US: do the math. Where exactly do you think the future lies? We have no future for religious orders here in Ireland (except to pay their pensions) because they’re not, to put it mildly, attracting vocations. Reason? they’re all the mirror image of the LCWR. A busted flush. Except that we don’t have (as you so charitably put it) any of the “retro” ones either. But we have plenty of the temple police, as you occasionally have described your betes noires. Any guess what side of the house they’re on? Not to mention their average age.

  33. poohbear says:

    I’ll take an upstart retro Sister over a pantsuit abortion mill escort new-age manly sis any day.

  34. The Cobbler says:

    “Hi. There are all kinds of Dominican, Franciscans, Notre Dames, etc.; and certainly lot of different kinds of Poor Claires.

    So I don’t know how that works into your theory.”

    I don’t think I’d call my thoughts on the matter a theory so much as a critique of your criticism, based on the majority of the Dominicans I’ve heard of being the type who, far from being either reactionary or progressive, have simply kept preaching what the Church teaches with the theology that supports it, wearing their traditional habit not out of any attempt to turn back the clock but simply because they didn’t change as the clock ticked onward, so on and so forth. That there are Dominicans out there who don’t fit that stereotype doesn’t negate that examples can be given of Dominicans who do it the ol’ Dominican way and appear to be thriving. That there’s a stereotype out there (or, put it another way, that there’s no stereotype I have been able to find out there of Dominicans having at some point gone otherwise) seems to me good reason to take examples of thriving Dominicans at face value until something comes up to the contrary. For more understanding of my take on the matter (although it may get a little repetitive on a couple points), read on.

    “Alas, there are convents and priories of the Order Preachers (Dominicans) that have been infiltrated by the Spirit of Vatican II in its Leftist-Hinky Iteration, that is, very much at odds with the authentic and genuine Spirit of Vatican II and with the Spirit of all other Church Councils, all of which are very much in communion with the Magesterium of the Church, past and present.”

    I would be surprised if it were not so. But I have never heard it suggested that this was/is a major/central/systematic/widespread problem for the Order.

    Obviously, if I simply haven’t heard of when they recently nearly died out or when in the sixties they ditched habits and theology that supports the Church with the rest of the Catholic world only for a few sections now popular in the circles I run in to bring ‘em back in the nineties, I’d have to admit my impression was faulty and my point doesn’t stand. But having read a lot of Catholic controversy out here, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard most if not all of the complaints against most if not all of the commonly known orders; so, while I might someday find out I’m wrong, till then I’m not going to treat the matter as a total unknown about which we can only speculate. If my impression, against those odds, has been wrong… please let me know so I can stop making arguments from incorrect data sooner rather than later. ;^)

  35. JKnott says:

    Former upstart retros ………St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila – Doctors of the Church

    A passionate lover of God , His Church and the poor. Mother Teresa – “We’re not social workers.”
    The new Lay Movements and religious orders after Vat II
    It appears the Holy Spirit makes and flourishes those right-leaning upstart retros. Deo Gratias!

  36. Luvadoxi says:

    I sense in the Force a new coffee mug in the making for Father’s swag store…..

  37. jflare says:

    “Old enough to know better”

    Evidently, we need to throw “Still too young to care!” in there too!

  38. jflare says:

    “73s!”

    Given what I’ve seen of Fr’s numbers, I’ve been wondering if the “s” on the end might be a British thing. We DO have cultural difference, you know.

  39. Lisieux says:

    Fr Jim: are you suggesting that it’s only the leadership of the orders affiliated with the LCWR who are elderly and that there are thousands of keen young sisters out there somewhere that none of us has ever met?

    I have a nice little bridge in Booklyn you might be interested in, too.

    http://ospihm.org/dotAsset/187971.jpg
    http://www.sistersofmary.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109&Itemid=134

  40. wmeyer says:

    jflare: 73 is a ham message meaning best wishes. 73s is used presumably to express the desire of best wishes to each and every reader.

  41. benedetta says:

    It’s quite easy to determine which orders are prolife and which are not. In fact it is obvious. And, it is also obvious that the ones who are prolife are thriving and joyful. Not rocket science. Not stats. Easy and obvious, non hidden.

  42. Brad says:

    As Benedetta says, yes, thanks be to the Holy Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit, here, for never obfuscating, which would be a cruelty. Man’s nasty machinations and complex uncharity always veers toward gnosticism whereas from our good God we receive trustworthy simplicty in love and Truth. He tells us to look at fruits (which he carefully shows us) and leaves it at that. Thank you, Lord, for being so kind and considerate with our small and fallen minds so ever willing to deceive ourselves and others.