WASHINGTON (July 16, 2007)--Sister Andrée Fries, a national leader in church finances, director of the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), and former head of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon, Missouri, died July 14 at the age of 65.
She died of complications following knee surgery June 18.
Sister Fries, a native of Quincy, Illinois, had been a member of her religious order for 48 years and headed the National Retirement Office in Washington since 2000.
Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed his sympathy to her religious community and those with whom she worked.
"Sister Andrée brought a wonderful religious vision to her work for the extraordinary men and women religious who have done so much to make the church in our country a major source of education, health care and social services," he said. "Not only priests, brothers and sisters but also the bishops of this country owe her their gratitude for her inspirational leadership. She brought not only financial acumen but also wisdom, creativity and awareness of the Gospel to the tasks before her. I am sure she will continue to work for the church in this country from her position in heaven."
The NRRO is headquartered at the USCCB, and sponsored by the USCCB, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). It is responsible for the annual Retirement Fund for Religious Collection, which is taken up in parishes nationwide in December.
Sister Fries had been the NRRO Project Director for Retirement Services, 1998-2000, before becoming director of the office. Previously she had worked for the NRRO as Associate Director/Director of Allocations, TriConference Retirement Project [now (NRRO)], 1987-91.
Sister Fries held a master of business administration degree from Southern Illinois University, a bachelor's degree in business from Quincy College, and had extensive related continuing education, and strong finance and management background. In 2002, Quincy University awarded her an honorary doctor of ministry degree.
She brought both financial skill and compassion to her work, which involved helping men and women religious face a daunting retirement crisis without losing sight of their mission to serve people all their lives.
For more than 35 years she brought to many of the nation's religious orders and other non-profit groups the benefit of her in-depth financial planning, management, consulting and training experience
She worked in leadership in her own religious order, where she was superior general, for two terms, 1980-86, 1992-98; and vicar general/member of the institute's administrative council, 1974-80. In addition she was Director of Financial Planning for the order, 1970-74.
Sister Fries served in leadership in several national and archdiocesan offices. She was past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and was a member of the Archdiocese of St. Louis Finance Council, 1995-1998, its Cemetery Board & Finance Committee and Trustees, 1993-1998, and its Strategic Pastoral Planning Committee, 1995-1998.
From 1995-1998, she was one of three elected U.S. representatives to the International Union of Superiors General, in Rome.
Sister Fries was a member of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA), and served on its Executive Committee, 1985-88; National Board, 1985-88; Finance Committee, 1982-90.
She co-founded the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI) and served as its Vice-President 1979-81, and a member of its national board, 1977-81.
The national Religious Retirement Collection stands as one of the most successful fund raising efforts of the Church in the United States and draws about $30 million annually to offset a religious retirement shortfall estimated to be about $9 billion. Each year the bulk of the collection proceeds goes directly to orders in need throughout the United States.
Sister Fries was the daughter of the late M. June Reilly and Andrew Fries. She is survived by her religious community and her two sisters, Jean Presson of Chesterfield, Missouri; and Constance L. Stevens of Fremont, California.
Services in Washington will be Wednesday, July 18, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Crypt Chapel, 400 Michigan Ave., N.E., with visitation from three p.m. to five p.m. and a Mass for the Dead at 5 p.m.
The wake service at the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood Motherhouse in O'Fallon, Missouri will be Friday, followed by a Funeral Mass on Saturday.