Sister Madeline McHugh, Maryknoll Sisters for 78 Years Dies


Maryknoll, NY: Sister Madeline Cecilia McHugh, missioner, contemplative and educator died on January 16, 2018.  She was 97 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 78 years.

She was born in Elizabeth, NJ on November 9, 1920 to Mary (Serafin) McHugh and Matthew McHugh. She had two brothers: John and Matthew, Jr. and four sisters: Clare, Mary, Rita and Rose, all have predeceased her.

Madeline graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Elizabeth, NJ in 1938.  After graduation from high school, she attended Battin Night School for seven months in 1938 -1939 receiving a Certificate in Shorthand and Typing.  She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Community in Maryknoll, NY from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Elizabeth, NJ on June 10, 1939.  At her reception into the Congregation, she received the religious name Sister Alma Therese and made her First Profession of Vows on January 6, 1942 and her Final Profession of Vows on January 6, 1945, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, in Maryknoll, NY. From 1941 to 1945, she obtained a Bachelor of Education Degree at Maryknoll Teachers College, in Maryknoll, NY.  After graduation she was assigned to Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii from 1945 -1961. She also attended a speech course at the University of Hawaii in 1950.  She taught second and fifth grade, shorthand and Art at St. Anthony’s School in Maui.

In 1961, Sister Madeline returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY where she served as Vocation Department Secretary until 1965 and then as Vocation Director until 1968. In 1968, she attended Iona College where she obtained a Certificate in Theology.  She was assigned to Guatemala City, Guatemala where she did language study from November until March, 1969.  She then moved to Huehuetenango, Guatemala where she did pastoral work with women. In October, 1969 she moved to Balboa in the Panama Canal Zone to teach Religion, English and Typing in secondary school and Music in primary school.

In January, 1972 Sister Madeline joined the Maryknoll Sisters Cloister Community where she worked as a secretary as well as in the kitchen and the Altar Bread Department.  In March, 1979 she obtained permission to live an eremitical life at Nazareth Hermitage in Ava, Missouri for one year, after which she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Cloister in Maryknoll, NY; where she again lived the eremitical life from June 1981 to 1986.

In March 1986, she and Maryknoll Sister, Sr. Theresa Baldini left for Cairo, Egypt for Arabic Studies for six months before proceeding to Juba in the South Sudan where they set-up a contemplative community.  In May 1991, the two Sisters went to the town of Torit, but were forced to leave in May, 1992 because of war.  From 1992 to 2000, Sister Madeline returned to the Maryknoll Cloister in Maryknoll, NY where she prepared an office book with inclusive language, worked on Cloister archives and was Director of Music. In 2000, the two Sisters again returned to the South Sudan to the town of Narus where they set-up a prayer ministry. In 2010, they returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Cloister Community, now known as the Maryknoll Sisters Contemplative Community in Maryknoll, New York where Sister Madeline died. Sister Madeline has willed her body to Medical Science.

Prayers and Sharing of memories will be held for Sister Madeline on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at Maryknoll Sisters Center.   The Memorial Mass will follow at 11:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Sisters Center .