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Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped by Jean Griffith, a health aide at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future — and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

LI's nuns try to manage drift toward extinction

Joan McCann is the newest nun at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. She joined 40 years ago. The Dominican Sisters of Amityville had 1,725 nuns in 1965. Now there are just 450, and their average age is 77. Religious sisters in Nassau and Suffolk are preparing for a not-too-distant future in which there won't be enough nuns left to carry on their ministries.

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped by Jean Griffith, a health aide at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future — and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Sister Rita Hudlin during a moment of prayer
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Sister Rita Hudlin during a moment of prayer at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Ninety year-old Sister Mary Noel walks across a
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety year-old Sister Mary Noel walks across a hall at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

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Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped by Jean Griffith, a health aide at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

From left, Sister Bernie Neary, Sister Eileen McCann
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

From left, Sister Bernie Neary, Sister Eileen McCann and Sister Doris Cunningham during a dance therapy session at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

from left, Sister Eileen McCann, Sister Noel Boylan,
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

from left, Sister Eileen McCann, Sister Noel Boylan, Sister Claire O'Neill, Sister Mary Lawrence O'Keeffe, Sister Rosemary Blottman, Sister Doris Cunningham during morning mass at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Sister Mary Lawrence O'Keeffe gets her blood pressure
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Sister Mary Lawrence O'Keeffe gets her blood pressure checked by nurse Annette Vazquez at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped by Jean Griffith, a health aide at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

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ADVERTISE HERE
Sister Betty Ann McKiernan during morning mass at
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Sister Betty Ann McKiernan during morning mass at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Eighty-four year-old Sister Mary Stephen during a moment
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Eighty-four year-old Sister Mary Stephen during a moment of prayer at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre where she has been in the ministry for 65 years. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Ninety-two year-old Sister Eileen McCann is being helped by Jean Griffith, a health aide at the Congregation of the Infant Jesus in Rockville Centre. Like most groups of religious women in the United States, the Infant Jesus sisters face an uncertain future -- and are adapting as best as they can as their numbers dwindle and their members age. (March 4, 2013)

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