Audience members who attended the 23 performances of Sister’s Christmas Catechism at Starlight Indoors in November and December did much more than enjoy a funny show and stir childhood memories. They also got into the season’s spirit of giving in a big way – and provided three religious orders of Catholic sisters a nice surprise.
The national touring production of Sister’s Christmas Catechism, as part of the Late Nite Catechism theatrical series, has made it a tradition to collect free-will donations at the end of each performance if the presenting theatre allows it. All funds collected are then donated to selected religious orders to help provide support and care for retired and elderly nuns or to assist with other important missions.
“Starlight Theatre was thrilled to be able to participate in such a worthy cause,” Starlight president and CEO Rich Baker said. “We thank actress ‘Sister’ Mary Zentmyer for her heartfelt outreach to our guests at each show, and we especially thank all of our patrons who chose to give.”
Donations totaled $12,306.27, which was split evenly among the following three orders:
- Little Sisters of the Lamb, Kansas City, Kan. This community of seven nuns lives solely on donations. They pray, eat and interact with their urban neighbors, including the homeless at soup kitchens, police officers and even gang members. The local order was established in 2008. While it is the only one in the United States, other orders of Little Sisters of the Lamb are in France, Argentina, Chile, Austria, Poland, Spain and Italy.
- Little Sisters of the Poor, Raytown, Mo. This order operates the Jeanne Jugan Center, providing independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care for low-income seniors. The Little Sisters dedicate their lives to the elderly who live on-site and are available around the clock to respond to residents’ needs. Ten sisters live in the Raytown convent and range in age from 51 to 98 years old.
- Congregation of St. Joseph, Wichita, Kan. This order of 97 sisters works and serves in the Kansas City, Kan., diocese, Wichita, Dodge City and southeast Kansas. Their median age is 80 years. Currently four nuns work in Kansas City in an adoption ministry, parish music ministry and a prayer retreat center. Over the years, Sisters of St. Joseph taught at local schools including Saint Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa’s Academy, St. Thomas More, St. Pius X, Avila University and Donnelly College.
This was the second time Starlight helped to facilitate donations. During the January 2016 run of Late Nite Catechism, in which Zentmyer also starred, Starlight Indoors patrons donated more than $9,000. Those funds were shared among the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kan., Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kan., and Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist in Independence, Mo.