Maryknoll, NY — Newest Maryknoll Sister Mara Rutten, a graduate of Arizona State University, Tempe, who received her call to religious life while a parishioner at Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, will be formally sent to work in Cambodia at a special sending ceremony to be held at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, November 22, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.
A growing passion and involvement in social justice issues, coupled with a vibrant faith and desire to help the poor, led 43-year-old Sister to make the choice for religious life, one that is becoming increasingly rare.
A 2000 graduate of Arizona State University, Tempe, with a doctorate in philosophy, Ms. Rutten, 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.
Mara first sensed a tug toward a life of service while an active member of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, AZ. There she participated in “Just Faith,” a program which builds awareness of social justice issues in its participants and gives Catholics opportunities to meet the needs of struggling people in their local areas and beyond. These experiences sparked Mara’s enthusiasm for mission work, leading her to contact the Maryknoll Sisters.
Partnering as a lay woman with Maryknoll Sisters, Mara worked 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.”
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 nearly 430 members from both the US and overseas.