“In Myanmar, it is difficult for people to count on a steady income, land, even food or education.” Sister Mary
The joyous celebration of Christ’s Resurrection brings us a deep sense of hope in our Risen Savior. All of our Maryknoll Sisters pray that this Holy Season brings you much peace. I also wish to thank you for your faithful support of our ministries. Your gifts mean that our Sisters – like Sister Mary Grenough whose story I bring you today – can help people immobilized by poverty, suffering with HIV/AIDS or struggling with righting wrongs.
Sister Mary joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1956 and then completed a Masters Degree in Nursing. This year she will celebrate her 60th Jubilee in the Community. Early in her ministry Sister Mary served in the Philippines, where she met and worked with the farmers in the sugar cane fields.
“Poverty is extreme in many areas of the Philippines,” says Sister Mary. “I spent one week working with the women in the sugar cane fields who earned only $3 per week. I asked, ‘Do you ever get used to the work?’ And the answer was: ‘Oh, yes, we get used to the work. What we’ll never get used to are the cries of our children who cannot sleep because they’re hungry.’”
“In Myanmar, it is difficult for people to count on a steady income, land, even food or education. When families cannot meet their basic needs, they rely on their faith in God. One thing is true: their faith is essential for survival,” reflected Sister Mary.
Her mission, which started with only three Catholic groups helping HIV/AIDS patients, eventually became the Myanmar Catholic HIV/AIDS Network and grew to include almost all the dioceses in Myanmar.
Before these initiatives, patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were shunned by their local communities. They were afraid to even go to Church. With the dedicated commitment of all the staff in this program, people were educated about the disease and learned what precautions to take. Because of Sister Mary’s personal experience of the struggles of poor people in the Philippines, she was able to go beyond providing health care and education in Myanmar – to obtaining basic human rights for the people.
Sister Mary’s ministry is vital to making sure marginated people have a better life. She has lived through many changes and is seeking even more that will help the children and their families reach new heights. The people are hopeful and working for their own survival.
Sister Mary reflects on her mission…“The God that brought me to Maryknoll is no longer the God that keeps me here. My understanding of creation, of God, of the meaning of life has all changed. Now God is speaking to me through so many people and so many circumstances!”
Please do not forget to send us your prayer intentions so we may remember them. Also, please remember to keep Sister Mary, the staff in Myanmar – and all our Sisters – in your prayers. Thank you for your gifts – they truly help our Sisters and they help keep alive their vital ministries. We continue to count on your help so we may reach out in love to poor people in many different parts of the world. Happy Easter!