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Maryknoll, NY — A growing passion and involvement in social justice issues, coupled with a vibrant faith and desire to help the poor, have led 43-year-old Mara Darleen Rutten to make a choice that is becoming increasingly rare. On Sunday, August 23, 2015, the Austin, MN born native who later lived in Arizona, will become the newest Maryknoll Sister of St. Dominic at a Mass to be held at 10:30 a.m. at the congregation’s center in Ossining, NY.
A 2000 graduate of Arizona State University, Tempe, with a doctorate in philosophy, Ms. Rutten, who also holds a master’s degree from South Illinois Univeristy, Carbondale (1996), and a bachelor’s degree from University of Minnesota, Morris (1994), recently completed her candidacy as a Maryknoll Sister in Chicago, IL, where she attended Catholic Theological Union and completed other preparatory programs required by the congregation.
Mara first sensed a tug toward a life of service while an active member of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, AZ. There she participated in “Just Faith,” a program which builds awareness of social justice issues in its participants and gives Catholics opportunities to meet the needs of struggling people in their local areas and beyond. These experiences sparked Mara’s enthusiasm for mission work, leading her to contact the Maryknoll Sisters.
Partnering as a lay woman with Maryknoll Sisters, Mara worked with them among the poor and underprivileged in Cambodia. This association led her to seek membership in the congregation. In her request to be considered, Mara wrote, “I have admired the Maryknoll Sisters since I was a little girl and first heard about them through the atrocities in El Salvador. From that time forward, that is what I thought of when I thought about love: to go where you were needed but not always wanted, to refuse to abandon those whom you had come to love despite physical danger, and to serve God all the while. Through the Maryknoll family, I believe I have found the best avenue to give and receive love.”
Mara will receive her Chi-Ro ring, the sign of her commitment to God and Maryknoll Sisters which formalizes her entry into religious life, at the Mass on August 23. In the Fall, she will receive her mission cross and her first official mission assignment as a Maryknoll Sister overseas.
Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 24 countries around the world, they now number 458 members from both the US and overseas.