Eleven Maryknoll Sisters to Celebrate 50th Jubilees

Maryknoll, NY —  Eleven women religious will celebrate their 50th jubilees with Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in 2015, ten of them at a Mass to be held at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY, on Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. in their Main Chapel. Another sister will celebrate the occasion at her mission site in Tanzania.

Sisters who will be celebrating 50 years as Maryknoll Sisters include:

Barrozo,Rosalinda headshotSister Rosalinda Barrozo from the Philippines.  Sister Rosalinda has worked with immigrants in Hawaii for nearly 40 years, and previously worked in pastoral ministry in the Philippines. Currently she is assistant spiritual director of the Filipino Catholic Club at St. Anthony’s Church, Kailua, HI, where she also serves as lector and Eucharistic minister.

Bautista, Imelda headshotSister Imelda Bautista from the Philippines. Sister Imelda has served since 1970 in Tanzania, teaching at the university level, as well as in post-apartheid Namibia, helping improve the quality of education and the integration process in Catholic schools under the Bishops’ Conference.  She also served on her congregation’s Central Governing Board and as Congregational Treasurer.

Cardillo, Alice headshotSister Alice Cardillo from Sayre, PA.  Sister Alice has worked as a nurse in Korea for 18 years, 12 of them with leprosy patients. She then worked at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, providing nursing care to elderly and infirm members of her congregation, at the Maryknoll Archives. Sister Alice also volunteers at Calvary Hospital, Bronx, NY, in pastoral care services, and was given a certificate of appreciation from the hospital in 2014 for her 11 years of dedicated service there.

Glass, Susan headshotSister Susan Glass from Milwaukee, WI. Sister Susan has spent many years doing pastoral work in Hong Kong and Macau, particularly in ministry to youth. Prior to her work there, Sister Sue taught fifth grade, served as art coordinator, and worked in the Department of Religious Education in Honolulu, HI.

King, Shirley photographerSister Shirley King from Greensburg, PA. Sister Shirley is the congregational photographer for Maryknoll Sisters, having travelled most recently to Asia, where she captured many of the Sisters at their work. Previously, she worked in health education and catechetics in Bolivia, then as parish administrator and health worker in Peru.

Krautkremer, ConnieSister Connie Krautkremer from Montgomery, MN. Sister Connie works in Tanzania, equipping women with skills, self-awareness and empowerment to help them realize their full potential.  A past member of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregational Leadership Team and director of the Maryknoll Mission Institute, she has served in Tanzania for most of her missioner life.

Maulawin, Nora (2)Sister Nora Malauwin, a native of the Philippines. Sister Nora has worked primarily as a religious educator in Indonesia and in pastoral ministry in East Timor. She has also served as Creative Productions Writer for the congregation at their Center near Ossining, NY.

Omana, Amelia (3)Sister Amelia Omaña from the Philippines. Sister Amelia has served primarily in her home country with Maryknoll Sisters. She has worked in finance, pastoral ministry, school and office administration, and with the congregation’s Donor Services Department at Maryknoll, NY.

Ryan, Pat 2015 Non-Smiling headshotSister Patricia Ryan from Levittown, NY. Sister Pat has served the Peruvian people since 1971. During her 44 years there, she has become an ardent advocate and defender of human and environmental rights, especially of the Aymara and Quechua people of the Altiplano, among whom she makes her home.

Yu, Lucy (2)Sister Lucia Yu from Korea. Sister Lucia is a physician who has treated the sick and infirm in Tanzania, Kenya, her native Korea and the Maryknoll Sisters Center near Ossining, NY. A convert to Catholicism from Buddhism, her work has earned her many awards, including the Korean Medical Association’s Medical Service Award in 2005.

Bunuan, BibianaSister Bibiana Bunuan, a native of the Philippines, has worked locally to educate people about and bring an end to human trafficking. She is currently based in Tanzania, where she will celebrate her anniversary, and has initiated community-based health care and women’s development programs in both Tanzania and Namibia.

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.

Sister Agnes O’Keeffe

Sister Agnes O’Keeffe,
Nurse and Administrator in Tanzania, Guatemala and the United States,
Dies at 90

O'Keefe, Agnes

Maryknoll, NY —  Sister Agnes O’Keeffe, MM, nurse and administrator in Tanzania, Guatemala and the United States, died July 18, 2015, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.  She was 90 years old.

Born in the St. Boniface district of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on August 12, 1924, to John Michael and Lucy Chatfield O’Keeffe, Sister Agnes entered Maryknoll on September 2, 1956, at its motherhouse in Ossining, NY, from Holy Cross Parish, Winnipeg, following graduation from St. Boniface Hospital School of Nursing.  She made her First Profession of Vows on June 24, 1959, at the motherhouse, and her Final Vows on June 24, 1965, in Guatemala.

Sister Agnes’ first assignment was working as a general staff nurse at Bethany House, a residence for elderly and infirm Maryknoll Sisters, located in Ossining, NY.

She received her first foreign assignment in 1960, when she was sent to Guatemala.  Following six months of language studies, she worked in a rural dispensary, then organized a health clinic for residents of San Miguel, Acatan, Huehuetenango, where she served until 1968.

Sister Agnes then returning to Ossining, where she again worked as a nurse at Bethany House for one year, then as assistant to Maryknoll Center Unit’s infirmary director until 1973.  She also work from 1969-1970 as a pediatric staff nurse at Bronxville Memorial Hospital, Bronxville, NY.

In 1973, Sister Agnes was sent to Tanzania where she served as administrator of a clinic in Bwirigi, a town in the Musoma Diocese.  Her primary work was training local health workers in preventing diseases, maternal child care and therapeutic medicine.

Sister Agnes then returned to the United States, where she worked in the Maryknoll Sisters Nursing home from 1989-1993. She then went back to Tanzania, where she served as medical supervisor for 300 boarding students at Kowak Girls Secondary School until 1997. She then returned to Maryknoll, where she was in residence until her death.

Sister Agnes is survived by her sister, Mrs. Anne Seigfreid of Green Bay, WI; her nieces, Karen Blahnik and Kathy Parker, of Green Bay. WI, and Patricia Goderis Saxton of Swan Lake, MB;  her nephews,  David Ronald O’Keeffe of Winnipeg, MB, Michael O’Keeffe of Winnipeg, MB, Ron Goderis of Minaki, ON, and Brian Seigfreid of Green Bay, WI, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

A vespers service was held for Sister Agnes on July 20, 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 followed on July 21, 2015,  also at the Center. Interment was in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

What’s in a Name?

One day while working in a poor Latino ghetto in Houston, Texas, a little boy about 8 years old came into my room with a darling little girl. I asked who she was. He told me that it was his little sister. I asked “What’s your sister’s name?” He answered, ‘Hergee”. Never having heard that particular name before, I asked .”Why do you call her Hergeee?” He quickly answered, ‘Cause she’s sweet like a Hergee (Hershey) bar. Beat that if you can!


Sr. Helen Philips, M.M.

Sister Noel Devine

I’d like to introduce you to Sister Noel Devine and her wonderful story of a life of service. At age 88 she is unable to speak and needs help dressing herself and communicating with others. Yet despite her disabilities, she insists on living a meaningful life of service. In her words: “I take great pleasure in bringing comfort and joy to the other Sisters I live with, especially those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

From the very beginning Sister Noel had a deep conviction that she was called to mission. She has served as a Maryknoll Sister for 70 years. Sister Noel has spent her life helping others as a school teacher and is now retired and living at the Maryknoll Sisters Residential Center. Sister Noel’s first mission was teaching at St. Theresa’s Chinese Mission in Chicago. After 10 wonderful years with them, Sister Noel was sent to the Maryknoll Sister’s secondary school in Hong Kong.

In 1998 speech difficulties brought her back to Ossining and our residential center. Sister Noel was diagnosed with PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis – a rare disease affecting the movement of arms, legs and face). Sister uses a device that looks like an iPad to communicate. “I can still live a meaningful life,” she smiles. “Although I cannot speak, I am praying for our Sisters, our benefactors and for the world.”

“When I bring a smile
to another it is a special
moment; it’s like God is
smiling on both of us.”

Sister Noel Devine

“You are very much a part of Sister Noel’s life – when she was on mission in Hong Kong and especially now when she needs good health care. Your gifts help to support the medical treatments and living arrangements for her and our retired older Sisters – those who served selflessly in the poorest places on earth. Thank you!

You are such a part of our ability to carry out our mission of making God’s love visible here and around the world. On behalf of all of our Maryknoll Sisters thank you! Your support is deeply appreciated! And your continued support is needed right now – for Sister Noel and all our Sisters.

Please pray for Sister Noel, all our Sisters at the Residential Center and all those serving in the most troubled spots in our world. Thank you for helping us make life easier and happier for others. You are a source of strength and we are grateful. We will always keep you and your loved ones in prayer asking for God’s protection.

Sister Anastasia
Sister Noel Divine brings joy to another Sister
Sister Noel Divine brings joy to another Sister

From the diary of Sister Noel…

“I cannot speak today but I can pray. I pray for the whole world. My other Sisters at this residence inspire me because they are living out their call to mission. I would rather be helping others than others helping me. I wanted to be independent. My daily struggles were made easier by the kindness of others caring for me.

I have always relied on God’s strength and He has never failed me. He never lets me down just like our partners in mission who I pray for everyday.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Phil 4:13

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Living with Enough

This photo is of Sr. Madeline McHugh and I with the Toposa Tribe, who are located about 20 minutes from Narus in South Sudan. Most of the children did not go to school and we tried to encourage the parents to send their youngsters, both boys and girls, to the Primary School in Narus, which has also a boarding school for those who lived outside of Narus.  The girls school is administered by Sisters from Uganda, and the boys school is administered by the Sudanese St. Martin dePorres Brothers, with a few Sudanese lay teachers and many Kenya lay teachers on the staff.  Eventually a good number of the children came from this village to the two schools in Narus.

Someone from the Maryknoll Magazine was visiting Narus and wanted to get photos of the nearby village.  This picture was taken during a “habuub” (a sandstorm) that comes down from the Sahara Desert in the northern part of Sudan.  Even though the weather was quite windy and sandy, the people were always hospitable and so happy to greet anyone who came to visit.

The memory of the Sudanese people will always live on in our hearts.  Our humanity has been blessed by being among them.  The people taught us to ‘live with enough,’ and that there are two things that can dissipate the human spirit: wanting more of everything and not knowing the meaning of ‘enough.’   We also learned through the suffering of the people that a salient part of being human is to try to see that no one suffers alone, that no pain goes unnoticed, and that no pain is without meaning. Because of being with the people of South Sudan, we feel they helped us to discover that the real journey of the missioner is inward and the conversion is not someone else’s but one’s own.  The missionary journey is to our true self and our true home, where we are connected to all peoples.

Sr. Theresa Baldini

The Price of a T-Shirt


The Price of a T-Shirt

One day I was working with a large group of Aymara children in J uli, Peru. This was a group called the Eucharistic Crusade. It was formed as a catechetical response for those who had recently made their First Holy Communion. As always, it was extremely cold there and the children were all wra pped u p in their shawls and hats. As I looked over the group, I spotted one little fellow, Juan, who was shivering i n his homespu n shirt and trousers. When class was over I invited him to come with me to the convent. We had recently received a shipment of used clothes from CRS from the United States. Most of the clothes were too large for him but I did find a tee shirt that would, at least, keep him a little warmer u nder his own shirt.

Juan had walked about 4 kilometers to come to this meeting. Off he went with his new shirt, walki ng those 4 kilometers again to his house in the campo.

That night, as another Sister and !sat in our cold house that was slightly warmed by a gas heater, we heard a knock on our door. I went to answer it and there in the darkness stood Jua n! He had walked those 4 kilometers back again and wanted to give me something. He opened a little homespu n bag out of which he took two eggs and ha nded them to me. His mother had sent these in return for the shirt! I hesitated about taking them as they could surely use them for their own family, as they were so poor. However, l couldn’t not accept them, which l did. After this he turned and left and walked back those 4 kilometers again to his home!

How’s that for a price for a tee shirt?

Sr. Helen Phillips,M.M.

Nuns try to raise money for new windows

OSSINING – A group of nuns in Ossining are asking for the public’s help.

The Maryknoll Sisters are raising money to get new windows in their home.

They say their current windows are 50 years old, have poor insulation and are difficult to open and close. “I would like to get all the benefit of the air but I know if it rains and the window is wide open, I can’t get it down,” says Sister Noel Doescher.

Read More:  Westchester Top Stories

The sisters, whose mission began in 1912, were the first group of Catholic Sisters in the United States founded for overseas mission. Most of the nuns spend 40 to 50 years in overseas mission, and Ossining is where they come to live when they return.

The order has approximately 500 members from 29 nations serving in 25 countries worldwide.

Read more…

Maryknoll windows in dire need of replacement

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.

The temperature is in the 80s, it’s a little on the sticky side and you don’t have air conditioning. What to do?

Open a window and go “ahhh,” as you catch a nice little breeze and breath of fresh air.

Unless you’re one of the 200 Maryknoll Sisters at the “Motherhouse,” the convent building where members of the Catholic order live after spending most of their lives doing missionary work in the neediest corners of the globe.

In that case, you very well might be out of luck.

Records show that the 92-year-old building’s windows haven’t been replaced since the 1950s. Many are cracked and damaged and most will only open a few inches, if at all. While they are spiritually strong, the nuns — many in their 70s, 80s and 90s — don’t have the muscle power to open or close windows that have been stuck for decades. Backs have been thrown. Muscles have been pulled. Arthritis has been aggravated.

And no one complains.

“We’ve all spent our lives working toward the betterment of our missions,” said 84-year-old Sister Jeanne Houlihan says, in explaining the prevailing attitude. “We tend to accept what is, and hope something will change. We don’t complain about our own discomforts. I may want something, but I ask myself if I really need it. If I find that I don’t, I won’t ask for it.”

But even Houlihan, who spent 46 years running a school for girls in Hong Kong, now acknowledges the need to replace the convent’s 403 windows, at a cost of about $1,200 each. The order has produced a YouTube video describing the need.

“It will take a lot of hands and a lot of hearts to make this a success,” she said of the new effort to raise the money. “But one thing we have plenty of here is faith. It would be a great comfort for us to be able to open and close our windows.”

Sister Noelle Doescher keeps her window open a few inches in the summer. If she opens it more and it starts to rain, she has trouble closing it. The heat doesn’t bother the 89-year-old too much. After working with the poor in Kenya for 38 years as a nurse, she’s used to it.

The cold, however, is another story. And winter is coming.

“It’s very drafty,” Doescher said of the large opening, which measures about 6-foot high and 3-feet wide. “When you’re older you don’t notice the temperature so much, but in the wintertime it can get freezing in here, even though I leave the window closed.”

Maryknoll officials are hopeful that their lower Hudson Valley neighbors will do what they can to help pay to replace the windows. Of particular concern are those on the fourth floor, which serves as a nursing home for the sick and frail sisters, and the third, which is used as an assisted living facility.

“The sisters aren’t going to put themselves first,” said Maryknoll spokeswoman Chelsea Waller. “I think it’s our job, as a community, to step up and try to help them and take care of them, for all the good they’ve done in the world. They certainly deserve to have their basic needs taken care of. Any donation helps, no matter how small. And the sisters will be grateful for any amount people can give.”

Twitter: @RichLiebson

Ways to donate:

Visit their website at www.maryknollsisters.org and clicking the “Support Us” link

Click on the “Donate” tab of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc. page on Facebook.

Checks, made out to “Maryknoll Sisters” with “window renovation” noted in the memo line, can be mailed to: Maryknoll Sisters, 10 Pinesbridge Road, Ossining, NY 10562.

Old Windows At Ossining Convent Have Elderly Nuns Suffocating Through The Summer

OSSINING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Elderly nuns in Westchester said they feel trapped in suffocating heat in their convent, because of old windows that desperately need to be replaced.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the sisters who have helped others, now need help themselves.

“I love it. It’s my home,” Sister Noel Doescher said.

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Doescher, 89, spent nearly 40 years in Kenya as a missionary for the Maryknoll Sisters.

Now, she along with 200 other nuns, some in their 90s and older are at the ‘motherhouse’ up the Hudson River in Ossining, to either recharge or retire from traveling.

“I chose this life, and I’m very happy that I did,” Doescher said.

But, she’s looking forward to a better window. Doescher can barely open and close the one in her bedroom, neither could CBS2’s Sanchez.

The 92-year-old convent building window’s haven’t been replaced since the 1950s. On hot days like Tuesday, some nuns can’t crack them open to find relief from the heat.

“You have to open it like this and hope it stays there, and then ugh, I can’t move it,” Doescher said.

More than 400 windows need to be replaced. Each one costs $1,200 and there isn’t any money the budgets for the new windows. For the missionary sisters asking for help instead of providing it isn’t easy.

“We don’t like to complain,” Doescher said.

The nuns have pulled muscles and injured their backs because of the deteriorating windows, so they decided to turn to social media.

“Our energy bills are to the skies, which means the money that we’re giving to the electric company we could be using for the poor. So, in a way, asking for the windows is a way of responsibility and accountability,” the nuns said in a youtube video.

After always putting others first, perhaps now others will step forward to care for them.