Sister Theresa Maksym,
Educator/Administrator in Guatemala and Mexico
Dies at 87
Maryknoll, NY — Sister Theresa Marie Maksym, MM, missioner-educator in Panama, Guatemala and Mexico, died May 6, 2015, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 87 years old.
Born in Jamaica, NY, on January 7, 1928, to Konstanty and Janina Lazowska Maksym, Sister Theresa entered Maryknoll on October 5, 1946 at its motherhouse in Ossining, NY, from St. Joseph’s Parish, Jamaica, NY. She received the religious name Sister M. Francis Christine, made her First Profession of Vows) on April 6, 1949, at the motherhouse, and her Final Vows on April 6, 1952, in Panama.
A 1945 graduate of Jamaica High School, Jamaica, NY, Sister Theresa also held a bachelor’s degree in education from Maryknoll Teachers College, earned in 1958, and attended Maryknoll Seminary in Spring 1976.
Sister Theresa’s first assignment was to Balboa, Panama, where she taught kindergarten, did catechetical work and home visitation, and ministered to youth from 1949-1953. She then taught third graders in Ancon, where she was also involved again in catechetical work, home visitation and ministry to youth, from 1953-1957.
Sister Theresa was then sent to Guatemala, where she served as principal and teacher of Grades 2 through 6 at San Miguel Acatan, Huehuetenango from 1959-1965. She also worked with women, did home visitation and catechetical work, as well as census work during that period.
Sister Theresa then was assigned to Mexico, where she would serve for the next 42 years. From 1965-1974, she served as principal and taught sociology and religion to girls in the Commercial Department at Helena Herlihy Hall in Mexico City. Then, in 1974, she was put in charge of selling the property and phasing over the school to the administration of lay professionals.
In 1976, Sister Theresa was sent to the Yucatan, where she would serve for the next 31 years. There she was an English teacher and engaged in pastoral ministry at Colonia Hidalgo de Chuburna, Merida. She trained Mayan girls as catechists, coordinated catechetical programs, formed a pastoral team, started a computer school, developed support groups, offered leadership training classes, and encouraged the use of the Mayan language.
Sister Theresa is survived by a sister, Helen Golonka of Kew Garden Hills, NY, a brother, Carl Maksym of Yonkers, NY, and a niece.
A vespers service will be held for Sister Theresa on Thursday, May 14, 2015, at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Friday, May 15, 2015, at 11 a.m. in the same location. Interment will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.