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“Lay teachers now make up the bulk of Catholic school employees, a stark contrast to decades ago, when religious men and women — the vast majority nuns — composed 90 percent of school staff. Today, there are just 4,000 religious teachers (in USA), who represent 3 percent of all Catholic school staff from religious orders”

Catholic schools are changing. In the midst of these changes it is important to record the significant impact of nuns on generations of students. Recording videos and stories and encouraging mentoring of new teachers can help transfer skills and most importantly attitudes to another generation. Nuns in habits give identity to their schools. “They make a Catholic school a Catholic school,” said Adelina Joseph, 17, of Mount Laurel, a senior at Holy Cross, the only Roman Catholic high school in Burlington County. “It wouldn’t be the same without sisters.”

“At Holy Cross, Sister Claudette teaches three classes a day, often using an overhead projector with slides to illuminate her lessons. At 84, she has become a beloved fixture, teaching generations of students, with no plans to retire. Her students typically begin arriving for her first class at 8 a.m., before the bell, to spend time chatting with her. “She’s old-fashioned, but I like that about her,” said freshman Whitney Daniels, 14, of Willingboro. “She has a caring personality.”

Sister Claudette explained “I’m still having fun teaching. I’m teaching what I like.” At 84 “professional career teachers” would have retired long ago. The beauty of treating education as ministry is that there is no retirement age.

Question: Has your school recorded and celebrated the role of nuns and priests in your community? I would love to share examples.

Source: Catholic schools have fewer nuns, but those who remain inspire