I admit a bias here. Two of my aunts took vows to the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Pa. Their Irish immigrant parents encouraged them to enter the religious life. Both became teachers. They also contributed to other church-related ministry. One is dead now; the other retired, though she still tries to help around the convent.
In an opinion piece for The Irish Times, Fr. Tony Byrne suggests the positive contributions to society made by senior religious have been overshadowed by the scandalous atrocities of the minority of religious. He continues:
The witness of their commitment to a life of prayer and service is seldom recognized or appreciated in contemporary Irish society. Yet it is important to remember senior religious who have given and those who continue to give tremendous service to the poor and needy.
In other words, there’s more to the story of the Irish religious than the notorious Magdalene laundries and pedophile priests.
Here’s more about helping elderly nuns and priests in the U.S. from the Washington, D.C.-based Support our Aging Religious.