Sister Marilyn Ingraham, M.M. celebrated her 70th Jubilee on February 12th, 2017. Sister Marilyn Ingraham has been a Maryknoll Sister for nearly 70 years. The seeds for her life of service were planted many years before that, however, while she was yet a teenager.
When Sister Marilyn was only 13, her mother died in childbirth, leaving her husband to care for their brood of 10 children by himself. Sister Marilyn’s only sister, Jean, helped with the cooking. A while later, while reading stories about the lives of the saints, Sister Marilyn began thinking about a religious vocation. She found their lives of doing good and helping others an inspiration and thought she might become a nun, but she wanted to be a nun who had fun.
Her vocation began to solidify when, as part of her high school religious studies, she read Maryknoll Magazine. Even though she had never met a Maryknoll sister, she decided to join.
Sister Marilyn’s novitiate began at the Venard, a farmhouse in Pennsylvania where the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers operated a junior seminary. There she and other Maryknoll Sisters helped out by cooking and cleaning for the seminarians.
As the taking of her final vows at Maryknoll approached in 1953, Sister Marilyn began dreaming of being sent overseas to the Philippines, China or Japan. God, apparently, had other plans, because for the next two years, she taught first and second grade children in St. Louis, MO.
Then, in 1954, her call to foreign mission came. She was headed not to Asia but to South America, where she taught elementary school children in Peru from 1959-1969, then taught developmentally disabled children in Bolvia from 1969-1971.
Sister Marilyn then returned to the United States, teaching in Hatch, NM from 1972-1973, in San Diego, CA, from 1973-1974, and in Brockton, MA, from 1974-1984.
Then it was back, albeit briefly, to Bolivia, where she served as coordinator of Casa Rosario, the Maryknoll Sisters House for a summer, before embarking on four years of teaching in the Providence, RI, public schools. Later, she taught and tutored Hispanic children at Holy Trinity Parish, Brooklyn, NY, from 1992-1997, also helping some students with their immigration problems from time to time.
Sister Marilyn now resides with several other Maryknoll Sisters in Yonkers, NY, and participates in the Maryknoll Affiliates NYC Subway group. She also dabbles in watercolor painting, volunteers at Maryknoll Home Care and, driven by a long-held commitment to peace and justice, write to Congress and other regarding social justice issues.