Religious: How are you materially supported?


#1

In another thread, a question came up as to how religious support themselves. So rather than assume, I thought I'd ask.

The areas where I'm interested in:

1) Contemplative, enclosed religious

2) Active religious who live in community (for example, teaching sisters at an elementary school)

3) Active religious who do not live in a community

The specific questions for each of the three subsets above that I'd be curious about:

  1. Do you get paid a salary or receive a stipend from your community? If not, how do you buy personal items (combs, toothbrushes, deodorant, etc.)

  2. If you work in a public setting (such as a parish school, a hospital, or a university), do you personally get paid a salary or does your community receive the salary? If you receive the salary, are you required to turn it over or do you pay your living expenses and then turn the remainder over or is it some other scenario?

  3. Particularly if you don't live in housing owned or leased by the community, how are your housing expenses paid for?

  4. Do you have health and dental coverage paid for by your community? If you work for an employer other than your community (a school or a university), do you take their health coverage or do you still use your community's health coverage?

I realize that these may be dumb questions and I also realize that there likely are as many answers as there are individual religious communities.

I have been interested in the mechanics of this, so if you would grace me with taking some time to sate my curiosity, I'd appreciate it.


#2

They take a vow of poverty and live simply.

Some live from their own self-sustaining farms.

They turn down the heat and A/C.

Fundraising and events that bring in donations, and annuities.
Orders shrinking, costs going down, in some ways.

If they teach, tuition helps with overhead.

They used to be paid “in kind”, that is, they taught in schools or worked in hospitals and were supported with goods rather than salaries, with some diocesan funding.

They realized they needed to participate in the Social Security system. (In the mid-1970’s) Paying into and then receiving later.
They buy clothes at resale shops, unless they wear a habit, which gets patched and lasts for years.

They work until they can’t anymore. When they retire, they become part of the "prayer ministry."
Two that I have for friends had to find jobs paying at least $50,000 so that they can send some to the motherhouse/nursing home. One did call center work, and one worked at the ticket booth at an amusement park-- lots of prayers during those summer jobs.

They put their trust in God who feeds and clothes them like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.


#3

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