Sister Sandra Galazin, Maryknoll Sister for 47 Years

Sister Sandra Galazin, Maryknoll Sister for 47 Years
Maryknoll, NY – Sister Sandra Anne Galazin, MM, a counselor and social worker in Hawaii , died September 26, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 71 years old.

Born on January 5, 1944, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to Chester and Elizabeth Kockel Galazin, eldest of three children.

A 1961 graduate of St. Vincent de Paul High School, Plymouth, PA, Sister Sandra earned a B.A. in English and History at Misericordia College, Dallas, PA, in 1965, then taught for three years at Woodbridge Junior High School, Woodbridge, NJ, before entering Maryknoll Sisters on September 7, 1968.

Her entrance occurred at a time when religious congregations were experiencing a reduction in membership and going through a period of renewal and adaptation to the modern world, yet Sister Sandra, inspired by the vision of Vatican II and the life of Martin Luther King, freely opted to join Maryknoll to live a vowed life in community in service to the mission of Jesus.

Sister Sandra received her mission assignment to the Diocese of Honolulu in Hawaii, where she would serve for most of her 47 years with Maryknoll, in 1969. Here, her attraction to Maryknoll in “working for peace and justice beyond cultural and national boundaries” was a lived reality.

After a year of teaching language arts in Maryknoll Grade School, Punahou, HI, Sister Sandra focused her ministry upon her commitment to action for peace and justice. Sensitive and thoughtful of other people’s needs, she began by working at Pastoral Counseling Service in Honolulu, where she was coordinator of a program of crisis intervention and personal counseling for residents of a low-income housing area of the city from 1970-1972.

She then joined the staff of Susannah Wesley Community Center, a comprehensive social services organization dedicated to helping and empowering, youth, adults and families who have great socio-economic challenges, move towards self-sufficiency and independence. There she coordinated the Hui Kokua, a program of skill building and leisure time activities for clients from 1973-1975.

Later in1975, Sister Sandra joined the staff of Catholic Social Services, where she was a case worker and coordinator for Operation Aloha, a program for resettlement of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos until 1976 in the Diocese.

From 1977-1978, she worked for the Diocese of Honolulu as a consultant for Call to Action, diocesan hearing on social issues, as well as for Chaminade University of Honolulu, where she was a lecturer in the Theology Department and member of the campus ministry team.

From 1978-1985, Sister Sandra was privileged to work with the Hansen’s disease patients of Hawaii in their struggles for self determination and participation in living decisions that affect their lives. She staff the group of community supporters and people of good will in the Hale Mohalu Ohana (family), organized to join the Hansen’s Disease patients in their struggles via legislative advocacy and community organizing.

In 1980, she was named the Steering Committee Secretary for the Pacific Concerns Resource Center, a networking and action coordination Center for the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement in Honolulu and staff the Center re for the next five years.

In 1985, Sister Sandra returned to Maryknoll Sisters Center, where she served as director of Maryknoll Sisters’ Office for Social Concerns from 1985-1989 and manager of the Congregation’s Communications Office from 1989-1993. During that time, she was also part of the book committee coordinating the publishing of “Hearts on Fire”, the story of the Maryknoll Sisters by Penny Lernoux,

Since 1994, she returned to Hawaii, where she earned an M.S.W. at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, in 1995. She then served for five years as the home visitor program coordinator for Hana Like Home, an organization which works to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of child abuse and neglect by strengthening families “at risk.”

During her last 12 years in Hawaii, Sister Sandra worked at Catholic Charities Hawaii, serving as program director of its Ka Malama ana I ka Punua program for families with infants at risk in the first five years of their lives. For the last three years, doing case management work and counseling outreach in parishes and the Diocese.  She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2012, where she volunteered for a time with the Development Department, writing biographies of Maryknoll Sisters.

Sister Sandra is survived by her sister, Nancy Orlowski of Harrisburg, PA, and her brother, John Galazin, of Brooklyn, NY. Sister has donated her body to the New York Medical School.

A vespers service will be held for Sister Sandra on October 30st, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY. A memorial Mass will follow on October 31st, 2015 at 11 a.m., also at the Center.


Sister Mary Louise Martin, Maryknoll Sister for 72 Years

Sister Mary Louise Martin, Maryknoll Sister for 72 Years
Martin, Mary Lou
Maryknoll, NY – Sister Mary Louise Martin, MM, a missioner, catechist and pastoral care worker in Mainland China and the British Colony of Hong Kong, died September, 25, 2015 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 89 years old.

Born on July 9, 1926, in St. Louis, MO, to Herbert C. and Elizabeth Linn Martin, Sister Mary Louise was one of five children born to the couple. She entered Maryknoll Sisters in 1943 from Nativity Parish, St. Louis, MO, shortly after graduating from St. Mark’s High School, St. Louis. She was given the religious name Sister Regina Marie, made her First Vows on March 7, 1946, at the Motherhouse and her Final Vows in China on March 7, 1949.

A graduate of Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY, with a BA in community development and Mundelein College, Chicago, IL, with an MA in religious studies, Sister Mary Louise’s first assignment was to China where, following language study in Wu Chow, (Wuzhou ) she was involved in catechetical work. Expelled from China in 1951 by the new Communist regime, along with all other foreign missionaries, Sister Mary Louise came to Hong Kong. There she continued her catechetical and pastoral work  in Kowloontong,  at St. Theresa’s Parish and in the Social Service Center at King’s park in  Homantin,  from 1951-1971. She also worked at the Diocesan Catechetical Centre in Hong Kong from 1967-71.

Following the completion of her studies at Rogers and Mundelein Colleges, Sister Mary Louise returned to Hong Kong and to her catechetical work and at the Diocesan Catechetical Center. In 1982, Sister was recalled to the Maryknoll Center in New York. There she was appointed Director of the Maryknoll Mission Institute where she served until 1986. It was before completing this mandate that Bishop Wu, Bishop of Hong Kong, invited her to be part of a sensitive project he was setting up that would consist of three directors: a priest, a layman and a Sister. The project aimed at helping the Catholics in Hong Kong to be more ready for the political changeover of Hong Kong to the sovereignty of Communist China in 1997. He had chosen her from among all the women religious in Hong Kong for this work.  Upon her return to Hong Kong in 1986, she became a one of the directors of the Catholic Institute for Religion and Society, where she served until 2004. She then returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, where she became part of the Chi-Rho residential community. She was assigned to the Eden Community at Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2009, where she was an active member until her death.

Sister Mary Louise is survived by her sister, Catherine Fogarty of Houston, TX, and her brother, Robert Martin of Omaha, NE.

A vespers service will be held for Sister Mary Louise on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. in the main chapel at Maryknoll Sisters Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow in the same location on October 1, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.   Burial will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

Sister Noel met Pope Francis

The video above was taken yesterday, September 24, 2015.

Sister Noel was sent forth with support and prayers from the Maryknoll community, determined to meet Pope Francis yesterday. To ensure he will spot her she had a sign made in Italian that reads, “Hug Me Papa”. With excitement and gratitude, we are happy to report that her “bucket list” prayer has come true.

And so it happened. Sister Noel met Pope Francis


A few weeks ago we share with you Sister Noel’s journey of faith and her service to so many over the years. You can find that story of her journey here. The many prayers and blessings that have been sent her way over the past few weeks have provided her strength and comfort. We are so happy for her to have had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis and believe it is through the power of prayer that this miracle happened!

Thank you for supporting Sister Noel and all the Maryknoll Sisters thru your gifts and prayers. Sister Noel is always keeping those in our Maryknoll community in her prayers.

Woman with Passion for Her Faith and Social Justice Becomes Newest Maryknoll Sister

 Rutten, Mara, Receives Chi-Ro Ring from Maryknoll Sisters President, Sr Antoinette GutzlerMaryknoll, NY  —   One woman’s passion for social justice and her faith, cultivated by involvement in her local parish’s “Just Faith” program, pilgrimages to Guatemala and El Salvador, and living with Maryknoll Sisters in Cambodia, bore permanent fruit in her life this past Sunday, August 24, 2015, when she took her First Vows, becoming the newest Maryknoll Sister of St. Dominic.

Austin, MN-born Mara Darleen Rutten made her vows at a Mass celebrated at Annunciation Chapel, Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY, by Father Bill Remmel, a priest of the Society of the Divine Savior who served as pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, AZ, where Sister Mara participated in “Just Faith, ” a program designed to encourage personal then social transformation through their faith, that would lead her into her life’s call.  Now retired, Father Bill, who marched for civil rights while yet a young seminarian in the 1960s, “has been very instrumental in many of Mara’s journeys,” noted Sister Teruko Ito, a member of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregational Leadership Team in her opening remarks, adding that he remained active in immigration concerns, especially around border issues.

She then went on to express gratitude for the gift that Mara was to the congregation. “Unfolding Mara’s bio was just like opening a treasure box: surprise events, encounters in academic circles,  government jobs and neighborhood projects, conversations with many languages through worldwide journeys kept popping out. We are gifted with so many relationships through Mara.”

During the Mass, Sister Mara made a public proclamation of her religious vows to live a life of commitment to God through Maryknoll Sisters. In so doing, Sister Teruko explained to those gathered, “she says yes to live her vows of chastity in intentional community, living out Mary’s Magnificat, in sharing power with others and celebrating the wholeness of creation. She says yes to live the vow of poverty in an alternative mode to consumer economy, in case of our common home. She says yes to li9ve the vow of obedience, responding to a call to participate in an alternative politics, making a difference in acquisition and use of power. Her yes to Maryknoll is a commitment to a lifelong journey of mission and in ministry,” Sister Teruko added, “as we envision one earth community.”

Scriptural readings selected by Sister Mara herself for the Mass also illuminated something about the woman and her choice. “I want the first reading to be about a personal call [she chose Jeremiah 29:11-14], the second to be about community [Philippians 1:3-11 was the selection here], and the third about our commission to serve [Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet from John 13],” she told Sister Bridget Chapman, the Maryknoll Sisters who walked closely with Sister Mara during the discernment of her calling and gave a reflection on those readings during the Mass.  Reflecting on the passages which called Jeremiah to the life of a prophet, the Philippian church to a life of love for God and one another, and the apostles, as well as those who came after them, to a life of service, Sister Bridget told her newest Sister, Mara< “You will be living with many Maryknoll Sisters who have labored long and faithfully in the fields afar. Faithful daughters of Mollie Rogers {the congregation’s founder]. Get to know them, listen to their stories; they have much to teach you, both by their experience and their faithfulness.”  Then she added, “Some time ago, a Maryknoll Sister was asked, ‘What would you say about your life?’ She responded, ‘If I had my life to live over again, I would choose to be a Maryknoll Sister.’ And may it be so for you, dear Mara.”

A 2000 graduate of Arizona State University, Tempe, with a doctorate in philosophy, Sister Mara, 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.

Following her participation with the “Just Faith” program at her church, Sister Mara contacted Maryknoll Sisters, and partnered with them first as a lay woman, working 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.”

Upon recitation of her vows, Sister Mara received her Chi-Rho ring, the sign of her commitment to God and Maryknoll Sisters which formalizes her entry into religious life, from Sister Antoinette Gutzler, president of Maryknoll Sisters 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.

Sister Maria Rosa Nakayama, MM

Sister Maria Rosa Nakayama, MM,
Award-Winning Educator and School Administrator, Dies at 88

Nakayama, Rosa Maria-Jubilee2012FebMaryknoll, NY — Sister Maria Rosa Nakayama, MM, an award-winning educator and school administrator who served as a Maryknoll Sister in Japan for 52 years, died September 15, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 88 years old.

Born on February 20, 1927, in Tokyo, Japan, to Joseph Hisakichi Soma and Maria Ko Nakayama, Sister Maria Rosa, whose baptismal name was Rosemary Aiko Nakayama, was one of four children, two boys and two girls, born to the couple.

A 1944 graduate of Tamagawa Gakuen Girls High School, Tokyo, Sister Maria Rosa also attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo from 1939-1942.  She also received an R.N. from St. Luke’s College of Nursing, Tokyo, in 1948, followed by graduate work at St. Luke’s in 1948-1949, as well as at Catholic University, Washington, DC and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, also in 1949.

Sister Maria Rosa entered Maryknoll on September 1, 1952 from St. Ignatius Parish, Tokyo, made her First Vows on March 7, 1955, at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, Ossining, NY, and her Final Vows on March 7, 1961, in Japan.

Sister Maria Rosa credited her sister, Hisako Nakayama, with bringing the Catholic faith to the family, Sister Maria Rosa herself being baptized when she was 11 years old. She came to know Maryknoll while studying at the University of Maryland when friends invited her to accompany them on a visit there.  “When I saw two novices kneeling in chapel in adoration,” she later recalled, “I felt God’s call to Maryknoll.”

Following her First Vows in 1955, Sister Maria Rosa was sent back to Japan, where she did art work and pastoral ministry in Kyoto, Ise and Sai-in for six years, then began her work as an educator, school principal and administrator in Yokkaichi, where she would serve for the next 44 years.  Her work, which would also include serving as chairman of the School Board of Directors, collaboration with the Catholic School Association and attending meetings of the City Social Education and Mayor’s Commission, would be recognized publically on November 14, 2003, when Japan’s Ministry of Education and Science gave her an award for “distinguished service in the promotion of community-based education.”

Sister Maria Rosa’s final five years in Japan were spent ministering to the sick and elderly at three care centers in Yokkaichi.  She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2008, where she lived until her death.

Sister Maria Rosa is survived by her sister, Hisako Nakayama, of Tokyo, and her nieces, Haruo Hatakeyama of Tokyo and Ruriko Imamusa of Kamagawa-Ken, Japan.

A vespers service will be held for Sister Maria Rosa on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY.  .  A memorial Mass will follow on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at 11 a.m., also at the Center. Sister Maria Rosa donated her body to science.

Sister Janet Srebalus is ready to return to Tanzania

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Sister Janet Srebalus is ready to return to Tanzania after a brief Renewal Time in the U.S. She will be soon getting ready for this year’s annual Community Day Demonstrations at Jordan University in Morogoro, Tanzania where she teaches Psychology and Counseling at this Constituent College of the Catholic University of Tanzania.

Above are some pictures from the 2014 Jordan Community Day which welcomes students from other faculties to visit tent displays and demonstrations of each departments’ work. Sr. Janet helped her students prepare posters and a brochure of the basic facts about the Enneagram Personality Profiles as well as videos of sample counseling sessions. Sister teaches Counseling Theories, Counseling Skills and Enneagram along with supervising student Practicum Field work in Hospital, schools, NGO’s working with children at risk and people living with HIV/AIDS. Psychology is a recent field of study in Tanzania with Jordan University offering the first combination of Psychology and Counseling for both 2 year Diploma degree and 3 year Bachelor after a 2 year post-secondary High School Certificate.

Sister Janet is happy to be part of training this new generation of Psychologists and Counselors. Sister lives in community with three other Maryknoll Sisters, Sr. Bibiana Bunuan, from the Philippines, Sr. Lekheng Chen from Taiwan and Sr. Suzanne Rech from Pittsburg, PA. All of the Sisters do a variety of meaningful missionary works of teaching, counseling and animating youth, women’s groups, people suffering various illnesses and disabilities, prisoners and children abused and on the streets.

Maryknoll Sisters get new convent windows-News 12

The Maryknoll nuns personally sent thank you letters to everyone who donated money for their new windows. (9/2/15)

OSSINING – The Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining are counting their blessings after receiving hundreds of new windows for their nearly 100-year-old convent.

About 400 windows in the 92-year-old convent were more than six decades old.

They were impossible for the elderly sisters to open and close.  Sister Jeanne Houlihan says that in the winter, the building often felt like being trapped in the middle of a polar vortex.

Last July, the sisters went public about their desperate need for windows. Two months later, they raised $400,000 from 5,000 donors.

The Maryknoll nuns personally sent thank you letters to everyone who donated money for their new windows.

There are about 200 retired nuns living at the Maryknoll motherhouse.

Pause for Peace 2015

Climate Change – What has this to do with us/me?

During the 2013 World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil, Pope Francis called the world to greater solidarity:

I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity… The culture of selfishness and individualism that often prevails in our society is not what builds up and leads to a more habitable world: it is the culture of solidarity that does so, seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters.”

(Quoted by Cardinal Turkson, Annual Lenten Lecture 2015,
delivered at Trocaire in Ireland, March 5, 2015.
Unofficial translation)

When world leaders gathered for the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Lima, Peru, in December 2014, there was consensus that climate change is a danger to the planet and to the community of all life. As people of faith who are committed to solidarity and the common good, we are called to respond both individually and communally to the question:

What can we do? What can I do?

These questions, which are deeply engraved in our hearts, are about how we, as communities and individuals, can contribute to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change.

Pause for Peace 2015 – aims at reducing the effects of climate change by reducing CO2 emissions and avoiding the use of fossil fuels. But how do you do that in the home, the garden, at school, at work or in the office?


  • the big “R’s”:
    • recycle – for example, find out where to discard batteries appropriately;
    • reduce – for example, be energy-conscious; use energy-efficient such as compact fluorescent light bulbs; buy energy-efficient appliances; reduce the use of air conditioning; disconnect electronics when not in use; don’t leave refrigerator door open for a long time; buy only what is necessary; buy products with little or no packaging; buy local produce (this will reduce carbon emissions from transport) and/or buy organic foods (chemicals harm the soil, the air and our bodies); be mindful/careful in the use of water; take public transportation; drive fuel-efficient cars
    • reuse what is still usable
    • repair things instead of discarding them
  • change your style of life
  • use latex paint when painting
  • take cloth bags for shopping, not plastic
  • select biodegradable cleaning products
  • plant a tree or bush – reforestation
  • buy certified wood that comes from responsibly managed forests
  • institutionally, mitigation also means employing technologies that use little energy or filters that avoid the liberation of greenhouse gases.

Advocacy for the reduction of CO2 emissions by lowering the use of fossil fuels – the systemic level – could be done by divesting our stock portfolios (on the community level) of fossil fuel companies – or using our proxy votes to keep these companies from doing more harm. Moreover, sisters in different countries could become more educated about national energy policies and plans – for example what is your country’s policy on fracking? What percentage of your country’s budget for energy is reserved for renewable energy? Is it a progressive percentage? How can you, given your context, be more politically involved?

Adaptation – addresses change to a new reality by taking preventive measures. The idea behind adaptation is “I cannot change the reality but I can change the way I respond to the new reality.” For example, using wind power or solar panels or solar ovens.

Yes, we can each do something

The next Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC is commonly called the UN Conference on Climate Change and will be held in Paris in December 2015. The goal of this conference is to achieve a universal and legally binding agreement to address climate change. But its success depends not only on governmental decision-makers and negotiators, because each one of us can help by doing little things. For example, in making our daily choices and decisions, is it possible to reflect for a moment on what effect or impact our action will have on the environment? Reflection itself will change us, and when it changes us it will, cumulative, contribute to bringing change in the world.

We invite all our members to accompany world leaders, negotiators and other ‘artisans’ of a new climate change agreement with our ardent prayer between now and the middle of December. May their efforts be directed towards the global and universal common good, respecting and protecting all people, all life, as well as Planet Earth.

We suggest the following prayer for individual reflection and joint prayer throughout our congregations and institutes.


Loving and Creator God, help us to become artisans of the revolution of tenderness as we face the threats that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment.

These threats are interrelated and are among the greatest facing our human family today.

Help us to play our part in protecting and sustaining our common home as you call us to dialogue and a new solidarity.

Illumine our hearts so that we will see the good of the human person as the key value that directs our search for the global and universal common good.


(This prayer has been adapted from the conclusion of
Cardinal Turkson’s Annual Lenten Lecture 2015
at Trocaire in Ireland on March 5, 2015, and made into a prayer)

Signed by:

Company of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Dominican Leadership Conference
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary
International Presentation Association
International Public Policy Institute
Marianists International
Maryknoll Sisters
Medical Mission Sisters
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Society of the Sacred Heart
UNANIMA International