Love is at the heart of prayer and the heart of mission.

The Power of Prayer

“Love is at the heart of prayer and the heart of mission”
-Sister Theresa Baldini

Sister Theresa’s words are at the core of our Maryknoll spirituality. They bring to life our deep commitment to the Gospel message and to making God’s love visible in all our ministries.

Sister Theresa Baldini and Sister Madeline McHugh have amazing stories from their years in mission in Sudan. But before we share them, we want to tell you about a very important part of our congregation: the Maryknoll Sisters Contemplative Community. This prayer community became a reality in 1932 and continues strong today.

Prayer and sacrifice are at the heart of our contemplative community for Sisters Theresa and Madeline. Our Sisters who become a part of this community cherish silence and solitude. Silence helps create a listening attitude to God and the promptings of the Spirit. Solitude nurtures an inward journey – emphasizing our dependence on God and our union with all of humanity. Our Sisters’ contemplative way of life is simple, rooted in mission, and focused on the needs of others in active ministries around the world.

Sisters Madeline and Theresa went to Sudan at the invitation of Bishop Taban. As Sister Theresa states, “We saw the face and imprint of God in those who are handicapped, who have lost arms and legs because of the lethal shrapnel from the bombings. In the people, we have met the God who is continually healing wounds of despair and giving hope.”

Sister Theresa with Esther and her son Junior in Sudan.
Sister Theresa with Esther and
her son Junior in Sudan.

“We have learned through the suffering of the people that a salient part of being human is to see that no one suffers alone, that no pain goes unnoticed, and that no pain is without meaning. God’s signature is scrawled across the face of every person – every person’s life matters to God.” To our benefactors, you go with us everyday – helping to make God’s love visible throughout the world as our partners in mission. In Sister Theresa’s words, “Like Jesus, we are called to be servants of love… and the presence of love is the essence of service.”

Please help us go forth in 2016 as nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, environmentalists, contemplatives, and more. Your gift today will help our Sisters give voice to the poor, the ailing and the marginalized. Whatever gift you can give will be deeply appreciated.

May 2016 bring you peace and joy.

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A New Year Blessing for you from the Maryknoll Sisters

A-New-Years-Blessingfrom-the-Maryknoll-SistersSpirit of Peace who dwells within us and inspires us
with visions of the way the world should be,
heighten our awareness of your presence
as we gather to bring Your JOY to this New Year.
May we learn to follow Christ
who models peace and teaches us all things
that make for peace, now and always.

Sr. Jeanne Houlihan M.M.

Sister Margaret Shepherd, Maryknoll Sister for 68 Years

Sister Margaret Shepherd, Maryknoll Sister for 68 Years
Maryknoll, NY – Sister Margaret Shepherd, MM, who served for 41 years in Hong Kong, died December 6, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 96 years old.

Born on August 13, 1919, in Havre, MT, to Oliver C. and Beatrice Boyle Shepherd, Sister Margaret was one of four children born to the couple. She attended Elementary School and Middle School in Havre, from 1925-1932; graduated  from Havre High School in 1936,  attended Northern Montana College in Havre from 1936-1937 and Kinman Business University, Spokane, WA, from 1937-1938.

She then worked as stenographer and clerical worker for Continental Coal Company, Spokane, from 1938-1939, Long Lake Lumber Company, Spokane, from 1939-1940, and the Social Security Administration, first in Washington, DC, from 1940-1942, then San Francisco, CA, from 1943-1947.

Sister Margaret entered Maryknoll Sisters at their novitiate in Valley Park, MO, on October 30, 1947 from St. Agnes Parish, San Francisco, CA, receiving the religious name, Sister Rose Martin.   Following formation, she made her First Profession of Vows on May 8, 1950, in Valley Park, then worked at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, from 1950-1952; at Bethany Convent, then the residence for elderly and infirm Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, NY, from 1952-1957, and St. Teresa’s, another Maryknoll residence, from 1957 until 1959.  She made her Final Vows on May 8, 1953, at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse.

Later in 1959, Sister Margaret received the appointment to Hong Kong which she had long desired, teaching at Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloontong from 1957-1968.  She then returned to the United States, where she completed her college education, receiving a B.S. in Education from Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY, in 1970.

She then returned to Hong Kong where, following a year of language studies at the Hong Kong Government Language School, she taught religious education, English Language and Literature to secondary school students at Maryknoll Sisters School at Blue Pool Road, Hong Kong, until 1979. After serving in Congregational Services from 1980 to 1984, she returned to teaching at Maryknoll Convent School, Kowloontong, from 1989-1993.  She also facilitated a discussion group with young Chinese workers, and ran retreat and reflection days with Filipina domestic workers.

Then, from 1994-1997, as a member of the Prisoners’ Friends Association in Hong Kong, she made regular visits to Hong Kong’s maximum security prisons, where she shared the Gospel and Christian values with men from Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Germany, Lesotho and the Philippines.

Upon her retirement in 1998, Sister Margaret moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Convent in Monrovia, CA, where she resided and was involved with volunteer work, doing English testing from 1999-2003, then helping in various ways at Monrovia Community Services from 2004-2008. She then returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, in 2009, where she was a member of the Sisters’ Eden Community until her death.

Sister Margaret is survived by three nephews:  Patrick Shepherd of Stockton, CA, Dennis Shepherd of Carmel, CA, and Bill Shepherd of Decorah, IA.  All her siblings have pre-deceased her.

A vespers service will be held for Sister Margaret on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Thursday, December 10, 2015, at 11 a.m., also at the Center.  Interment will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

Sister Catherine Heilig, Maryknoll Sister for 66 Years

Sister Catherine Heilig, Maryknoll Sister for 66 Years
Maryknoll, NY – Sister Catherine Heilig, MM, who served for 49 years in Bolivia, died December 2, 2015, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 93 years old.

Born on October 6, 1922, in Brookville, NY, to Peter and Anna Heilig, Sister Catherine graduated from Hicksville High School in 1940, then worked for several years at Grumman Aircraft and the K & O Company, Bethpage, NY.  She entered Maryknoll on September 6, 1949 from St. Ignatius Parish, Hicksville, NY.

At her reception into the Maryknoll Community she received the religious name, Sister Maria St. Peter.  She made her First Vows on March 7, 1952, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, and worked in the congregation’s Promotion Department that year.

Her assignment to Bolivia came in 1953. Following one year of language study in Cochabamba, Sister Catherine taught first to fourth grade in Guayamerin, Bolivia, from 1955-1957. She was sent to Riberalta in the Bolivian jungle. She first did catechetical work among residents in Riberalta and surrounding communities. Except for three years working in Juli in the Altiplano of Peru, 1961-1964, and three years working in the Congregation’s Development Department, 1977 to 1980, sister served for 45 years in the jungles of Bolivia.  As a member of the Rural Pastoral Institute team, she was involved in Basic Christian Community work and in developing leadership and fostering continuing education of rural men. For her work with women along the rivers of the Beni, the Comite Civico Femenino gave Sister an award for her selfless and dedicated service. She was also given a Diploma of Honor from the Civic Regional Committee of Riberalta. She continued this work until her return to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2002.

Following her return to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, she spent hours each week in active ministry at a local food pantry in Ossining, NY, serving the needs of the Hispanic immigrant community. Along with other Maryknoll Sisters and lay volunteers, she helped distribute food to those seeking respite from the streets.   She also was active in prayer ministry on behalf of the work of Maryknoll Archives and the mission of Bolivia until her death.

A vespers service will be held for Sister Catherine on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 11 a.m., also at the Center.  Interment will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.