Sister Janice McLaughlin M.M., Maryknoll Sister for 59 Years Dies

Sister Janice McLaughlin, M.M. died on March 7th, 2021 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was born on February 13th, 1942 in Pittsburgh, PA to Paul McLaughlin and Mary (Schaub) McLaughlin. She had one sister, Mary Ellen, who has pre-deceased her.

In 1960, Janice graduated from St. Lawrence High School, Pittsburgh, PA. She then attended St. Mary of the Springs College in Columbus, OH from 1960-1961.

On September 2nd, 1961, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation, Maryknoll, NY (from St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish-Pittsburgh, PA). She made her First Profession of Vows on June 24th, 1964 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY and her Final Profession on the same date in 1972 in Kitale, Kenya.

From 1964-1968, Sister Janice worked in the Maryknoll Sisters Communication Office, Maryknoll, NY.  During this time, she also organized the “War Against Poverty Program” in Ossining, NY. She continued her studies from 1967-1969 at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology, Anthropology – Sociology. She later studied at the University of Zimbabwe and received a Master of Arts Degree and a PhD in Religious Studies in 1992.

Sister Janice received her first overseas mission assignment to Kenya, East Africa in 1969. There, she studied Kiswahili in Makoko, Tanzania. She then relocated to Nairobi, Kenya in 1970 and spent the next seven years serving as Communications Coordinator in the Catholic Secretariat Office for the Catholic Church of Kenya, Coordinator of the Communications Department of Episcopal Conference, and was responsible for radio, TV, press, film and audio visuals.

Sister Janice went to Rhodesia in 1977, in the midst of war, at the request of Rhodesian Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission to serve as Press Secretary.  Later, that same year, arrested for publishing fact-papers about the war, imprisoned and in solitary confinement for 3 weeks, then deported to the USA.

While in the USA Janice held a 1-year position in Washington, DC Office on Africa.

In 1979, Sister Jancie returned to Mozambique where she accompanied refugees from Zimbabwe. In 1981-1992, Sister Janice accepted a new assignment to Zimbabwe, (formerly Rhodesia) and served in diverse positions there including:  Education Consultant to the President and Publications/Curriculum Development Officer with the Zimbabwe Foundation regarding education and communications and helped to form ZIMOFA (Zimbabwe Mozambique Friendship Association for Relief Aid).

In 1992, Sister Janice returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY for Congregational Service in the Communications Office. She also served on the Sisters Committee for the Conrad N. Hilton Fund until 1997.

She once again returned to Zimbabwe in 1998, this time to Harare. There, Sister Janice was involved in adult education and peace building until 2009.

In 2009, Sister Janice, elected as President of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation for a six-year term and returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.

On May 18th, 2014 the Board of Trustees of Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT conferred on her the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for “her work in Kenya and Zimbabwe for many years to promote peace and reconciliation and to advocate for the poor and for the rights of young girls to attend school.”

In 2015, after her term as President, she returned to Harare, Zimbabwe – volunteering in “Africans for Catholic Social Teaching” with a strong commitment to work against human trafficking.

In the Fall of 2020, due to health needs, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, NY.

Sister Janice generously donated her body to science. A Mass of Resurrection will be livestreamed on Friday, March 12th, 2021 from the Annunciation Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, NY.  Her cremains will be interred at Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery, Maryknoll, NY at a later date.