Sister Mary Ellen Kerrigan, M.M. from Leadville, CO will be celebrating her 60th Jubilee this year.
Sister Mary Ellen Kerrigan entered the Maryknoll sisters in 1958 from Leadville, CO, after receiving her RN from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver. Following her first Profession, she served on the nursing staff at Maryknoll for three years and was assigned to Taiwan in 1965.
After two years of Mandarin language study, she worked as a clinic nurse in Wu She until 1969 when she did nursing in Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei.
Returning to the States in 1971, she completed undergraduate studies at Mary Rogers College at Maryknoll, a B.S. in nursing at Russell Sage College, Troy, NY, and her Masters in nursing from New York University of Education in 1976.
After these studies, Sister Mary Ellen returned to Taiwan to work as Nursing Supervisor in the 120-bed St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kaohsiung in the south. After six years, she decided to leave this work in the capable hands of trained Taiwanese nurses.
In 1983, she studied the Taiwanese language in Taichung and then joined a team of three doing pastoral ministry in the Chunan parish. She immersed herself in the language and the many opportunities she had to learn more about the life of the people outside the hospital situation. Sister Mary Ellen deeply appreciated the mutual evangelization in this pastoral ministry. As she grew in her appreciation of the people, she discovered that “the importance of personal relationships rather than the importance of work has affected the way I approach life.”
Called by the congregation to serve in vocation ministry on the admissions team at Maryknoll, NY, in 1987, she had the opportunity to share how she saw God working in her life in mission.
In 1991, after taking courses on HIV/AIDS and the care of those infected and affected by this infection, she went back to Taiwan. IN 1992, she returned to the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei to try to help the nurses and doctors there. Many of them were very afraid and knew little about the prevention of HIV infection and the care of people with AIDS.
In 1994, Sister Mary Ellen was invited to go to the Taipei Prison in Taoyuan to help answer questions of prisoners living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2015, she was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center to care for the elderly Sisters in the nursing home facility.