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.