Sister Margaret Mary Fitzgerald, Maryknoll Missioner for 69 Years

Sister Margaret Mary Fitzgerald, Maryknoll Missioner for 69 Years
Maryknoll NY: Sister Margaret Mary Fitzgerald died on Thursday March 24th, 2016, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. Sr. Margaret was 95 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 69 years.

Margaret Mary Fitzgerald was born in Somerville, MA, September 9th, 1920, the daughter of Catherine Leahy and William Joseph Fitzgerald. She had four brothers, William, Joseph, James (a Maryknoll Priest), and Edward. Both James and Edward have predeceased her.

After graduating from St. John’s High School in 1938, she attended Higgins Commercial Machine School followed by one year (1939-1940) at Fay’s Evening School in Boston, MA. She was employed at Filene’s, in Boston for 6 months and then at Nicholson & Co. in Cambridge, MA for the next six years. Margaret entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation on October 5th, 1946 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center from St. John the Evangelist Parish, Cambridge, MA. At Reception she was given the religious name, Sister M. William Karen. She made her First Vows on April 6th, 1949 and her Final Vows on April 6th, 1952, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

Her first assignment was to work on the publication, The Field Afar, a predecessor of the Maryknoll Magazine, from 1950– 1951 while residing at Crichton House, Croton – on –Hudson. In 1951, she was assigned to Bethany House, at that time the Maryknoll Sisters nursing home. In 1952, she began work at the Maryknoll Post Office, becoming Post Mistress in 1956– 1973.

She then studied Theology at the Maryknoll Seminary from 1973 – 1975, after which she was named Congregational Personnel Director from 1975 – 1980.

In 1981, after 30 years of service in the United States, Sister Margaret received her first overseas assignment to Bolivia, South America. After six months of language study at Cochabamba, she moved to Montero, teaching her marketable craft-making skills to women.

In the following year, 1982, she received an invitation to work in Riberalta, the Beni area of Bolivia, as Secretary to the Bishop in the Pando Vicariate. She held this position until 2005 and then returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center working part-time in the Development Department until 2006. Sister Margaret retired in 2009 to the Eden Community at the Maryknoll Sisters Center where she died on March 24th, 2016.

A Vespers Service will be held on Monday, March 28th at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A funeral Mass of the Resurrection will be on Tuesday, March 29th at 11:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

April Appeal – Environment


Ministries to the Earth

 “…join together, building not only human community, but the Earth Community.”

– Sister Ann Braudis, MM


Wouldn’t you like to help save the rainforest?

There is growing destruction of the surrounding rainforest in Panama with companies buying up the land for teak plantations, chopping down trees and contaminating the soil and water with chemicals from their operations.

Your gift enables Maryknoll Sisters such as Melinda Roper to teach farmers in the rain forests of Panama to care for the land with organic farming methods, reducing deforestation while maintaining livelihoods.

One of the important aspects of our life and mission in Darien, Panama, is working closely with the native communities. Many of the natives struggle with their sense of identity and living out their culture with integrity in a globalizing world. And, since a big part of their heritage is upholding the sacredness of the land and their rootedness in it, accompanying them in their efforts to reclaim their cultural identity and continue healthy practices of working with and living in harmony with the land is an imperative.


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Did you know there is a river of burning water?

It is the Condoraque River in Peru, and it is being filled by acid drainage and toxic sludge from mining activity. Sister Pat Ryan is working hard to stop environmental issues such as this and you can help too!

Sister Pat is in Peru working with the Organization for Human Rights and the Environment, offering educational services, information and legal advice, and acting with the indigenous people to defend their rights and the rights of Mother Earth. With your help, this organization, with Sister Pat, can achieve their goal to equip and empower the Aymara & Quechua native people with the understanding and skills to non-violently focus on working to curb irresponsible mining activities that disrespect indigenous people’s rights and threaten the environment and the people’s water supply in the area.

How can you make a difference?

Here in the U.S., Sister Ann is engaged with the Saw Mill River Coalition for the clean-up and restoration of the Saw Mill River in Yonkers, NY. Your gift also enables Sister Ann to help with the mission of restoring and protecting the Saw Mill River through improving water quality and encouraging sustainable land use.

These are only a few examples of the Maryknoll Sisters dedicated to improving the environment. Sister Marvie Misolas has spent the past two years in the Philippines working with the Green Convergence Philippines Organization. Sister Connie Pospisil is helping with Human and Land Rights violation

Please help these Sisters in their missions, as well as all our Sisters who serve poor, oppressed and marginalized people in 24 countries around the world.


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Maryknoll Sisters April Appeal

“The children’s futures rely heavily on academic change. We pray
and hope we can move forward.”

Sister Rosalva writes from East Timor…

“For the first time in several years we have had the opportunity to do something together and not just theoretically. East Timor is mainly rural and the people depend on farming. When the territory was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, most of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. Scarce water supplies and deforestation have caused soil erosion and massive landslides. The people are extremely poor and in dire need.

Sister Rosalva came to us from Bolivia where she worked as a computer programmer. She has a BA in computer analysis and a BS in computer science. Recently she made her Final Vows to live the rest of her life as a Maryknoll Sister. Now her analytical skills are put to good use conducting health programs, developing ways to prevent malaria, caring for land scarred by war, and teaching youth the very basics so they can provide better lives for their families.

Sister was tasked with helping the people in Manucasa turn things around. That meant calling on the people and motivating them to change attitudes and work habits. It meant pulling together people with different religious beliefs and encouraging them to focus on the common good. “It was an opportunity to unite the community in ecumenical dialogue and it worked! The common need for water and soil conservation enabled people to see and listen to each other in new ways,” Sister Rosalva emphasized. “There were bound to be differences but everyone knew the common good was at stake.”

Sister Rosalva has been in East Timor since 2002. She has lived through many changes and is seeking even more ways that will help the children and their families for their own survival and for the survival of the land.

By her prayerful and respectful approach, Sister has won their hearts and trust. According to her, “The people own these changes and are proud to be part of them. What more could anyone hope for?”

Please  help Sister Rosalva in her ministry, as well as all our Sisters who serve poor, oppressed and marginalized people in 24 countries around the world.

When you send your gift, please also send us your prayer intentions so we may remember them.

Please remember to keep Sister Rosalva – and all our Sisters – in your prayers.

Sister Joan Malherek, Maryknoll Sister for 65 Years

Sister Joan Malherek, Maryknoll Sister for 65 Years
Maryknoll, NY: Sister Joan Malherek, an educator and pastoral worker died in her sleep on March 13, 2016 in Monrovia, CA. She was 90 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 65 years.

Joan L. Malherek was born in Mankato, Minnesota, August 20, 1925 to Mary Grace Siegel Malherek and Peter Edward Malherek. She had two brothers, Joseph and Paul and two sisters, Margaret and Mary. Her Sister Mary is also a Maryknoll Sister. Her parents and both brothers have predeceased her.

Joan graduated from Granada H.S., Granada, MN in 1942 and obtained a Teacher’s Certificate from Mankato State Teachers College in 1944. She then taught for six years in the public schools in Minnesota. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from Our Lady of Mercy Parish (Mission of Sts. Peter and Paul, Blue Earth MN) in the Diocese of Winona, MN with her younger sister Mary on February 1, 1951, at the Maryknoll Sisters’ Novitiate in Valley Park, MO. At her Reception, she received the religious name Sister M. Joan Peter. She made her First Profession of Vows on September 8, 1953 at Valley Park, MO, and then Final Profession of Vows on September 8, 1959 at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse in Ossining, NY.

Sister Joan received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Maryknoll Teachers College in 1954 and after graduation was assigned to teach at Transfiguration Parish in Chinatown, NY until 1962. In that same year, she was assigned to Hawaii where she taught religion and mathematics in Maryknoll High School in Honolulu for the next eight years. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1971 from the University of Minnesota. From 1973 to 1976, she taught at Loyola High School, Mankato, MN while on home ministry with her mother and from 1976 to 1978 she gave service at the Center Health Unit at Maryknoll, NY.

After 27 years of formal classroom teaching Sister Joan requested to go to a more rural mission and was assigned to Guatemala where she did parish work and worked with women from 1979 until 1986 when she returned to Maryknoll, NY for a year. In 1988, she returned to Central America, to Mexico, fostering 22 Basic Christian Communities in a parish of 60,000 people. She participated in “Call and Response”, the Maryknoll Society’s program in which U.S. families experienced mission life in Latin America for a few weeks, growing in awareness and sensitivity to people of other cultures. In 2003, she moved to Colonel Azucena, Mexico Center where she did volunteer work with women until 2006.

In 2006, Sister Joan returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center where she worked in the Mission Awareness and Promotion Office, serving as Office Manager for 3 months there before she retired in 2010. She moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Convent in Monrovia CA where she died on March 13, 2016.

The funeral Mass will take place on April 1st in the Maryknoll Sisters Chapel, Monrovia, CA and internment will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds, Maryknoll, NY.

Sister Katharine Razwad, Maryknoll Sister for 70 Years

Sister Katharine Razwad, Maryknoll Sister for 70 Years
Maryknoll, NY: Sister Katharine Razwad, an educator and counselor died after surgery on March 4, 2016 at Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. She was 93 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 70 years.

Adele Catherine was born in Boston, MA, June 23, 1922 to Katharine Zaltauskos Razwad and George J. Razwad. She had one brother, Alphonse J. and three sisters, Blanche, Frances and Martha. Her parents, brother and two sisters, Blanche and Martha have predeceased her.

Adele graduated from St. Augustine High School, Boston, MA in 1940. She attended Boston Clerical Business School from 1940 – 1942 and worked at the Office of Price Administration, Boston, MA for 2 years. In 1945, she took a course in Applied Psychology at Harvard University.  She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from St. Peter’s Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston on September 6, 1945 at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse in Ossining, NY.  At her reception, she received the religious name Sister M. Katharine George. During 1947 – 1951, Sister Katharine studied at Maryknoll Teachers College where she earned a Bachelor of Education. She made her first Profession of Vows on March 7, 1948 at Maryknoll and taught during 1950 -1952 at Transfiguration Elementary School in Chinatown, New York. She made her final Profession of Vows on March 7, 1951 at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse.

She was assigned to the Philippine Region in 1952 and sent to the island of Koror, Palau, Caroline Islands, where she taught grades 4 – 9 in Maris Stella School.  In 1956 she moved to Manila, and taught grade 4 and catechetics at Maryknoll College while attending college courses. She was reassigned to Koror and to Maris Stella School in 1957 as principal where she remained until 1963. In 1964 she joined the staff of Lasalette College in Ilocus Sur and one year later, she was asked to serve as principal in the high school in Santiago, Isabela. She returned to Koror once again and to Mindszenty High School until 1969.

In 1970, Sister Katharine returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY and studied at Boston College from 1970 to 1972, earning a Master’s in Education in Counseling /Psychology.  In 1973 she was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters’ Eastern U.S. Region and worked in Boston in a volunteer program as a counselor until 1975.  In that same year, she enrolled in Boston College for a postgraduate course in “Career Development”. During 1976 -1977, she worked in Boston Public Schools doing preventive counseling at the Elementary Level. In 1978, she moved to Condon Public School again in the same counseling program for six years. In 1984, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Boston Public School System until her retirement in 1995. She has been on full time “Family Ministry” since 1996.

A Vespers service will be held for Sister Katharine, March 9 at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at Maryknoll Sisters Center.  A funeral Mass will follow on March 10 at 11:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

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