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Nuns withdraw suit against Boston Archdiocese

May 25, 2011

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BOSTON—An order of Roman Catholic nuns has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against the Boston Archdiocese for allegedly not allowing it to take out their portion of a church-run pension fund so the nuns could start their own plan.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the two sides said they'd reached "a mutually satisfactory resolution" and had asked the state Supreme Judicial Court on May 10 to dismiss the complaint by the Daughters of St. Paul.

The statement says the settlement includes a transfer of the order's money to a new pension plan the daughters will run.

The nuns estimated they were owed $1.37 million from the fund, though the archdiocese said the amount was subject to mediation.

It wasn't immediately known how much was transferred to the order as part of the agreement. The archdiocese and an attorney for the nuns didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The statement said the relationship between the two sides "continues to be a strong and positive one."

"The archdiocese looks forward to continuing the tradition of having priests of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrate daily Mass for the Daughters at their chapel in Jamaica Plain as we work together to deepen and strengthen our common faith," the statement read.

The Daughters of St. Paul has about 60 members in Boston and 75 more around the country. The order runs a publishing house called Pauline Books and Media and has about 50 lay employees in the Boston area and 30 others around the country.

In the suit, the nuns alleged they'd tried unsuccessfully for five years to withdraw their money from the archdiocese's pension fund so they could set up the self-run plan.

The suit, filed in December, charged that the fund's trustees, including Cardinal Sean O'Malley, had failed to give the nuns a full accounting of their portion of the fund. The order's attorney, Michael McLaughlin, said it eventually became clear the archdiocese didn't have the data.

The archdiocese said it was just trying to ensure that when the order withdrew the money, its new fund could provide for its beneficiaries.