“Live every day fully and gratefully,” says Sister Theresa McGrath, 86, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas. “I’m grateful that God called me to religious life. I’m also conscious that the gifts and talents I have are really given to share with other people.”

Sister Alice Garcia, 91, a member of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in San Antonio, Texas, did not say “yes” to religious life when her 8th grade teacher, a Catholic sister, suggested she might have a vocation.

“My first-grade teacher, Sister Celestia, was the biggest influence on my vocation,” says Sister Anne Cecile Muldoon, a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. “She was just so loving and kind. She made you feel at ease, and I wanted to be like her.”

“When you are pretty sure that God is calling you to a place, life is full of contentment,” says Abbot Emeritus Peter Eberle. For him, that place was Mount Angel Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and seminary near Portland, Oregon, where he has been a monk for roughly 60 years.

“Life is a gift,” says Sister Catarina Santa Cruz, a member of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in San Antonio, Texas. “Take it. Embrace it. And live it in hope.”

“I’m one of those Great Depression kids,” says Franciscan Sister Florence Kruczek. Born December 2, 1927, Sister Florence grew up in lean times, yet she was surrounded and sustained by faith.

“This is my second year in retirement,” says Sister de Lourdes Okoniewski, who retired from active ministry at age 85. “I love it. I have a lot more time for prayer, and I appreciate that.”

Not many people can say they’ve powered up a nuclear reactor. But that’s just one of many memories Franciscan Sister Mary Joseph Tirpak has of her years as a science teacher.

At age 86, Sister Kateri Peake has yet to slow down. In fact, she has yet to retire!

The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) sponsors the nationwide Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR) collection. In each participating arch(diocese), the NRRO works with a representative who assists in promoting the collection in local parishes.