Sister Rita Keegan, M.M. celebrated her 60th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12th, 2017. Sister Rita Keegan’s good humor, optimism and “can do” spirit and her gifts of personal rapport and group facilitation have marked her leadership in the Maryknoll Congregation and in all her ministries in the U.S. and Bolivia.
Sister Rita lives in an economically depressed area in Oregon. She is a counselor/therapist at Four rivers Free Clinic and in the State Correctional Facility with individuals and groups in the infirmary for the severely mentally ill. Her work in Head Start is with Spanish-speaking families, mostly mothers and children individulally and in groups. She was a volunteer on the board of the Alcohol Recovery Center and continues as a sponsor for several in the AA Twelve Step Program. She collaborates on retreat events, mostly in the AA program. She also has private clients for counseling/spiritual direction.
Sister Rita hails from Richland Center, WI, and entered Maryknoll in 1957. Her first assignment was in the South Bronx, NY, where she taught at St. Anthony’s School. After five years, she was sent to Bolivia where she taught and later worked in a resettlement project in the jungle where several thousand peole were forced from their homes by floods. In what had been nothing but forest and jungle, she helped inaugurate two colonies, Hardeman and Piray, a pastoral and community project sponsored by the joint efforts of Catholic, Methodist and Mennonite churches administering an orientation program for the new colonists, mostly indigenous people. After 12 years, she moved from the jungle to charamoco in the mountainous area around Cochabamba and was part of a pastoral team who ministered to 36 small villages of Quechua Indians. Integration of community and human development were their priorities.
She served for three years as Congregational Personnel Director and on her regional leadership teams several times, as well as facilitating meetings for other regions and groups.