Maryknoll, NY: Sister Rose Marie Guercio, M.M. died on June 9th, 2020 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, New York. She was 95 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 72 years! Rose was born on December 31st, 1924 in Astoria, NY to Margaret (Vitale) Guercio and Charles P. Guercio. She had one sister, Josephine and two brothers, Paul and Vincent; all of whom have pre-deceased her.
In 1943, Rose graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport, Long Island, NY. Following graduation, she worked as a Patent Clerk for Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. until 1947. Rose then entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Maryknoll, NY from (Holy Redeemer Parish, Rockville Centre, NY) on September 6th, 1947. She made her First Profession of Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on March 7th, 1950 and her Final Profession of Vows on March 7th, 1953 in Valley Park, MO.
From 1950-1952, Sister Rose worked at the Maryknoll Fathers Seminary and at Bethany (the Maryknoll Sisters Nursing Home) located on the property of the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She then studied at St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester, MN graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1955.
In 1955, Sister Rose received her first overseas mission assignment to a government hospital in Kandy, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) until 1959. She was then assigned to Pusan, Korea to serve as the Pusan Clinic Supervisor and Assistant Administrator until 1967. In 1967, she relocated to Seoul, Korea where she studied at Yonsei Language School and did the regional bookkeeping. In 1968, she served as a Delegate to the Congregation’s Special Chapter of Affairs and in 1969 returned to Korea to begin her work at the Maryknoll Fathers Okchon Clinic in Chung Puk Do. There, she initiated maternal/child healthcare programs and served as supervisor/administrator. In recognition of her work, she was awarded a Civil Merit Medal as an “exemplary health worker.”
In 1970, Sister Rose returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY for the Congregation’s General Assembly, as Korea’s Regional Delegate. In 1972, she was assigned to Jeung Pyeong, Korea to work as Administrator of the Maryknoll Clinic and draft plans for greater public health facilities.
From 1975-1979, she founded the Medical Health Insurance Cooperative, with this new endeavor she was able to provide families with health insurance at affordable rates. The Governor of Jeung Pyeong recognized her important work and made her an Honorary Citizen of the Province.
In 1979, Sister Rose returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll NY to serve as Assistant Treasurer until 1984 when she was again elected as Delegate to the Congregation’s General Assembly. She then returned to Seoul, Korea to work for the Korean Bishops Conference in the National Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
In 1990, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY to work as a member of the task force planning for the 1991 General Assembly. From 1991-2000, she volunteered in the Development Department and Planned Giving Office at the center.
She then returned to Seoul, Korea once again in 2000. This time she took over the Ilsan Bible Study Class and became English Editor at the Coalition for Economic Justice. She was also Editor of the English edition of Civil Society Magazine while also serving as a Eucharistic Minister in the Kayang Parish.
In 2006 Sister Rose returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center to fully retire.
Sister Rose’s body was interred in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on June 10, 2020. An outdoor memorial service was held for her on Sunday, June 14th.