100 Years of Making God’s Love Visible!

The first six pioneers with Archbishop Hayes and Mother Mary Joseph, departing the Maryknoll Motherhouse on September 12th, 1921!

The unfolding of the mission spirit of women in the United States emerged/took shape  100 years ago, when the first group of Maryknoll Sisters were assigned to China on September 12th, 1921! The Maryknoll Sisters Foundress, Mother Mary Joseph and the Founder of the Maryknoll Society (Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers), Father James Anthony Walsh felt certain that this was time for the first group of Sisters to leave for China.  Six Sisters were chosen: Sisters  Mary Lawrence Foley, Barbara Froehlich,  Rose Leifels, Mary Paul McKenna, Monica Moffatt and Imelda Sheridan.These six Sisters, accompanied by Father Walsh and a priest friend from Boston, sailed on the S.S. Monteagle from Vancouver on September 24th, 1921 and arrived in Kowloon, Hong Kong, on November 3rd, 1921. As far as the missioners knew, they perhaps would never see their homeland again!

The first journey to China realized our Sisters call to overseas mission in a life of love and sacrifice; 100 years later this spark still continues today!

Sr. Imelda Sheridan (left) Sr. Barbara Froehlich (right) on board the Monteagle in route to China!

Meet the First Pioneers to China: Learn About Them Below!

 “These first pioneers did not know each other, but were joined together through the gospel and their shared passion for a life of mission”

Sister Mary Paul McKenna reflects in an interview, 56 years after being one of the first pioneers to China!

Sr. Mary Paul McKenna (left) and Mother Mary Joseph (right) at the orphanage at Luoding, China, 1926.

Our Foundress, Mother Mary Joseph spoke of the missionary vocation in these words:  

“The dominant factor in our lives is love – love of God, and love of neighbor as we love ourselves for love of God. . . . I have thought very much of this love of God, and its qualities in the life of a missioner.  The missioner’s portion is a special consciousness of God’s thirst and hunger for the love of all. . . . It was to satisfy this love that we came here.” (MMJ 1949)

In the following years, the Sisters lived out Mother Mary Joseph’s dictum that “God has yet a great work for us to do.”

Go back in time with this special video of our Sisters in China 100 years ago!

100 years later and our mission continues… to “Make God’s Love Visible!”

Meet our current Maryknoll Sister missioners in China!

Sister Anastasia Lindawati
Sister Marilu Limgenco
Sister Sue Glass
Sisters Anastasia Lindawati, Esther Warioba, & Armeline Sidione






Today we have 300+ Sisters sharing in the mission of Jesus providing hope and a better life to those on the periphery around the world.

All of our Sisters come from different cultures and join together through the gospel and their shared passion for a life of mission just like our first six pioneers who set out to China 100 years ago!



Sr. Mary Paul McKenna (left) and Mother Mary Joseph (right) at the orphanage at Luoding, China, 1926.
Sister Jareen Aquino, Sister Regina Pellicore, Sister Laura Guledew, Sister Genie Natividad, Sister Anastasia Lindawati


“Living close to Christ is the whole secret of our Maryknoll vocation.”
-Mother Mary Joseph, Foundress


Purchase our DVD Trailblazers in Habits to learn more about the pioneer work of the Maryknoll Sisters! Available in both DVD and USB format, click here


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