WASHINGTON — At the annual SOAR! awards dinner in Washington, DC, honorees paid tribute to the men and women religious who inspired them.

At the gala, held Nov. 3 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, SOAR! — Support Our Aging Religious — recognized Jane Sullivan Roberts and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for their contributions to the Catholic community.

The dinner is a major fundraiser for SOAR!, which provides grants to Catholic religious congregations to meet the immediate needs of their aging members.

“My life has been touched by religious women and men so often,” said Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington, who received SOAR!’s Saint Katharine Drexel Award.

“We will never be able to thank” religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests enough for their lives of service, Cardinal McCarrick said, noting that through their ministries they bring Christ to people and prepare them for life, to do “great things and small things” for others.

Jane Sullivan Roberts, a legal recruiter and a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa in Washington, said that Catholic religious formed the foundation of her faith.

Growing up, she was taught by the Presentation Sisters in primary school and in high school she was taught by the Sisters of Mercy at St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx. From an early age, she said that Sister “taught me the basics of my faith and helped me feel part of a faith community.”

Now, she said, it’s “our turn to help them.”

“They have no savings, no pensions. They have no sons, daughters or grandchildren to depend on,” she said.

“…So they must depend on us –- their nieces, grandnieces, cousins, and former students and patients.”