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.