Boston Nuns Sue Archbishop Over Pension Dispute

A group of nuns based in Boston are suing their archbishop after years of trying to withdraw from the Archdiocese pension plan to start their own, which they claim would provide a better standard of living in retirement. The nuns say they have also not been given their own portion of the fund, despite several applications. The group, Daughters of St. Paul, is taking an unprecedented step in bringing a lawsuit against a cardinal.

The nuns are seeking a ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that would order the Boston archbishop and other pension plan trustees to release them from the pension plan and to provide them with a full accounting of the nuns’ portion of the fund. The Daughters claim they are owed $1.37 million.

The Daughters of St. Paul is an international order, with about 60 members living in Boston. Part of their mission includes running a multimedia publishing house, Pauline Books and Media, which publishes Catholic books and other materials.

American nuns have played a role in women’s rights since the 1970s, with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 90% of U.S. nuns, calling for the ordination of women.

Sophia Deboick writes in the Guardian, “There is something alarming about the treatment of these women – the Daughters have been driven to recourse to the law simply to get their voices heard. Is it that nuns are still seen by some as servants of the church who should be seen and not heard?”


The Guardian 4/14/11; Boston Globe 3/21/11

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