Maryknoll, NY — Appreciation, thanksgiving and hope marked the Mass offered August 2, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center in which 11 Sisters celebrated 50 years each with the congregation.
“Our evolving consciousness is helping us to a deeper appreciation of the fact that we are all interrelated with all of God’s creation,” commented Sister Patricia Ryan, MM, one of the jubilarians, during her opening remarks to family, friends and Sisters assembled for the Mass. Sister Pat, who hails from Levittown, NY, has worked tirelessly among the people of Peru’s Altiplano for the past 44 years, helping them fight for and renew the ecological health of the land, water and livestock on which their lives depend. “May today be a day of thanksgiving, unity, deepening commitment and profound job for all of us, and may our joy and gratefulness reverberate throughout the universe!”
Commenting on a passage from the Book of Exodus read during the Mass, Sister Connie Krautkremer, another jubilarian, compared the Israelites’ journey and need to trust God with that of the Sisters celebrating their 50th anniversaries. “When we entered Maryknoll, the Second Vatican Council was ending. Change was taking place in the church and in congregations of Sisters. At Maryknoll we welcomed the new freedom about ministry possibilities, ways to live together, and a new appreciation of the role of the laity in the church and mission.
“Life for us was chaotic at times,” she admitted. “We too grumbled now and then trying to find our way. And we, like the Israelites, received what we needed, as we adapted to the signs of the times, to new cultures, climates, languages and so much more.
This sense of finding our way when life seems confusing is something all people experience, she added, in one way or another. “We all wander around sometimes, maybe not in a desert, but we wanted, looking for something, dissatisfied. Jesus promised that no one will be hungry. We will continue to grumble and complain. I know I will. We will ask why and try to get our prayers just right, and that is okay. All of this is part of our dynamic love relationship with God. Only let us remember and promise to receive gratefully God’s bread from heaven and then share it, move it forward as they say, return it intio the community of life so that truly no one is hungry.”
Symbolically, each jubilarian placed a token of their journey at the foot of the altar during the Mass: a turtle which one Sister said symbolized one’s relationship with God; an image of “Pachamama,” the Andean version of Mother Earth; a Hawaiian lei, symbolizing love; a vessel of water, representing life; a birdhouse, representing a safe space; a list of all the women who entered Maryknoll in 1965, representing fidelity and life; a packet of seeds, representing growth; a woven basket, shell, and photo of Maryknoll Sisters founder Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, symbolizing diverse cultures; a pair of shoes, representing walking on sacred ground; and, finally, one Sister, bowing herself, offering herself in service to God and the universe.
Sisters who celebrated their anniversaries at the Mass included:
Sister 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.
Sister 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.
Sister Alice Cardillo from Sayreville, 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.
Sister 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.
Sister 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.
Sister 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.
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.
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.
Sister 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.
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.
Also celebrating 50 years with Maryknoll in 2015 is Sister Bibiana Bunuan, a native of the Philippines. Currently based in Tanzania, where she will celebrate her anniversary, Sister Bibiana has initiated community-based health care and women’s development programs in both Tanzania and Namibia. She has worked locally to educate people about and bring an end to human trafficking.
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.