St. Gertrude's Monastery receives SOAR grant

Oblate Jo-Anne Zimmer and Prioress Sister Mary Forman with Mary and Daniel Fannin of SOAR.

COTTONWOOD -- The Monastery of St. Gertrude received notification that a grant request will be fully funded by Support Our Aging Religious (SOAR). The $25,000 grant will be used to replace the windows on the sun porch of the assisted living floor of the monastery.

On Tuesday, June 4, SOAR board member Daniel Fannin, accompanied by his wife Mary, presented the check during the noon meal at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho.

“We are very glad to bring this over,” he said. SOAR’s grant program has a special interest in safety and health issues. “Any time you have an infirmary with faulty windows on the south side it doesn’t say much for energy efficiency.”

Through the generosity of its donors, SOAR supports the efforts of the institutional Church by distributing grants to congregations across the United States. These grants help ensure the safety, comfort, and dignity of aging religious. With a grant committee that meets once a year, SOAR has also funded such projects as handicapped-accessible vans, lift chairs, and kitchen certification projects.

“Many religious have worked without W-2’s and retirement plans,” said Fannin. “Many do not have Social Security or Medicaid.”

SOAR was founded in 1984 and its mission is to raise and provide funds for congregations to meet the immediate needs of their retired and infirm members, educate the public about the serious retirement needs confronting elderly religious, and develop a national network of concerned individuals who wish to respond to this need.

Oblate Jo-Anne Zimmer retired from the construction industry five years ago and almost immediately became a live-in volunteer at St. Gertrude’s. She now has the title of special projects manager and the assisted living floor is just one of her many projects.

She wrote the grant to address the leaky windows and UV damage to the gaskets and blinds.

“A person can retire to go play, but I love an organized, Benedictine life with purpose,” she explained. “I have lots of ideas on how to improve things.”

SOAR seeks to rally people from all religious denominations whose lives have been touched by the unparalleled contributions of Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests.

With much of SOAR’s activity in the eastern U.S., Fannin, of Steilacoom, Washington, has a special interest in bringing the organization’s reach to the west.

Learn more about SOAR and donate at soar-usa.org.

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