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Posted at 11:39 PM ET, 03/23/2010

Reassignment of nuns sparks demonstration

By Eric Athas

About 100 people demonstrated Tuesday night at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Hyattsville to protest the reassignment of two nuns who had been long been affiliated with the parish school.

A petition circulated among members of the parish called the action unconscionable, praising the nuns’ service and saying that “we can not imagine St. Jerome’s” without them.

A letter sent Monday to members of the parish and its school families by the Rev. James M. Stack, the pastor, said “difficult decisions” had to be made while refocusing the parish’s educational mission. Changes included a restructuring of the parish’s child center and an elimination of a school guidance counselor position as a part of financial restructuring, he said. The changes meant meant eliminating the nuns’ positions, the pastor said.

“It’s hard,” said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

"It’s like a death in the family," Jacquelin Wickham said of the nuns’ departure, which is scheduled for June 30. The nuns “helped me raise my children,” she said at the candlelight vigil.

“I can’t express how troubling this is,” she added.

--Hamil R. Harris

By Eric Athas  | March 23, 2010; 11:39 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  | Tags:  reassignment of nuns  
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Comments

It's not just about the nuns leaving the school (although that is half the battle). They are citing "financial" problems as a reason for closing down HALF of the daycare center. However, parents were shown that the center is actually making money and giving some to the elementary school to help keep it in operation. Not to mention the child care center contributes 1/3 of the kindergarten population every year. In essence, closing down part of the center will eventually lead to the demise of the school in general which is a shame for something that has had a positive influence in the lives of many for decades. Parent's have YET to receive any solid information and facts as to why the nuns are being removed and part of the center is closing down other than "personal" reasons.

Posted by: KBM1016 | March 24, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, the Catholic Church has had to pay out how many zillions of dollars in abuse cases, yet they claim they can't do something for two devoted nuns?

Posted by: swissmiss150 | March 24, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Many of us with children at the daycare are VERY worried about the outcome of all these changes. Closing down the infant care, which brings in more money than the 2 to 4 year olds, seems like the first step in making sure that the daycare is not profitable. But maybe that's the plan. Making the teachers re-apply for their jobs is another way to force some of the teachers out and along with them, many families. My son has been going to St. Jerome's Child Care Center for 2 1/2 years, since he was 5 months old. The teachers are loving and every day he has more to tell us about what he has learned. This changes are a dis-service to the community.

Posted by: ehsimmons | March 24, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The Sister's of Notre Dame de Namur are and always have been the foundation for St. Jerome's. It's these Women of Courage that sacrificed their wants or needs to provide unconditionally for others. Removing these women will compromise the integrity of this institution and take away the passion for the teachings of true Christianity. When priest have filed in and out of this school it was the Nun's that took charge and maintained what they, the priest or the Archdiocese couldn't provide. These men of the cloth have and continue to be catered to with house keepers and cooks and provided homes with furnishings unlike the nuns of any order. These women cook, clean and live modestly with second hand furniture, are paid pennies and given tasks beyond their jobs as teachers on a daily basis. Majority of these priest hold themselves on too high of a pedistal and proclaim that they are superior and next to God. They have done nothing but cause the Catholic Church humilation, embarrassment and cost the church an ungodly amount of money for inappropriate behavior. When they're not able or want to make a difference it is these women who make it happen. It is not about finances that this decision was made. Shame on Fr. Stack, shame on the church for their greed, may the Good God forgive them all.

Posted by: mdiguise | March 25, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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