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The salary of the St. Charles sisters

For a Sunday package of stories on Spokane Catholic schools, I contributed a historic timeline and came across many details I didn't have room for, including how much the sisters who ran the schools were paid.

In 1975, sisters were paid $270 a month in salaries that were contributed to a common pool. The breakdown of how that $270 was spent?

$75 to the motherhouse

$1.50 for food per day

$20 for insurance and another $20 for medical

$8.50 for gas and car maintenance

$15 for clothing, letters, telephone and personal needs

There was more on the list but somehow it made me sad to finally understand how little they were paid for how hard they worked. Unlike some Catholic school kids, I had a great experience and education at St. Charles. The sisters were so young, paid so little. And many of them have died. It's too late for a thank-you.

Thank you now, wherever you are.

(S-R photo of nuns in the play “Nunsense.”)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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