Retired Life

Sister Lois: 

Many of the Sisters at Assisi Heights today are retired. However, this does not mean that they are no longer involved in the Congregation. As Sister Lois expressed it, “I’m retired, but yet there are all these little things that I do.”1 Sister Lois retired at the age of 74 and remained in Assisi Heights. She explained that although she has retired, she has “26 different little jobs.”2 These include responsibilities within the Congregation, like playing the piano for mass, singing in the choir, guiding tours, and coordinating activities. They also include jobs involved with the community outside of Assisi Heights, like coordinating programs in Rochester parishes and teaching Spanish to English-speakers or English to Spanish-speakers.

Even as a retired Sister, everyday centered on prayer. Every morning, Sister Lois does her private meditation. At 11 a.m., she attends mass at the chapel at Assisi Heights, which Sister Lois explained is a necessity: “I just love that [daily mass]. If I was working a 9 to 5 job, I couldn’t do that every day.”3 In the afternoon at 4:30 p.m., Sister Lois gathers with a small group of Sisters and prays with the Office of the Church or the Franciscan Prayer Book. Lastly, in the evening, she has her private prayer.

Aside from her normal routines, Sister Lois attends special programs with invited speakers, which are run by and held at Assisi Heights. She also attends an 8-day long retreat every year, which is a time for her to spend alone and in reflection. If a more frequent retreating is desired, she can go to retreat centers located all around the area, which would be funded by the Congregation.

Sister Avis:

On the other hand, Sister Avis does not live at Assisi Heights. After her retirement, she moved away from the convent to a house nearby. This, however, did not prevent her from remaining connected with the Congregation. Much like Sister Lois, Sister Avis worked multiple little jobs. At Assisi Heights, she led walking tours every other Thursday. She has also taken over a project that Sister Generose – a prior CEO of Saint Marys Hospital – began, which includes making jellies and jams that are sold in the gift store to raise money for the Poverello Fund. The Poverello Fund – whose name translates to “poor little one” – helps Saint Marys Hospital patients who need financial aid to pay for hospital bills.

Outside of Assisi Heights, Sister Avis has volunteered at Saint Marys Hospital once a month to distribute Communion to patients. She has also volunteered in the radiology department once a week, offering coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies to people waiting for treatments or to family members. Every Tuesday, Sister Avis works at a thrift shop nearby.


  1. Sister Lois, interview by Nami Sumida, Assisi Heights, May 28, 2014.

  1. ↩ Sister Lois, interview by Nami Sumida, Assisi Heights, May 28, 2014.
  1. Sister Lois, interview by Nami Sumida, Assisi Heights, May 28, 2014.