Maryknoll, NY: Sister Rose Bernadette Gallagher died on February 9, 2023 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was 100 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 80 years.
Mary Ellen Gallagher was born on September 12, 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island to Elizabeth Mary (Byrne) Gallagher and John Francis Gallagher. She had seven siblings: six brothers: Daniel, Francis, John, Rev. Joseph, Rev. William, and Vincent. She had one sister Catherine. All have pre-deceased her.
Meg (as she was known) attended Aldrich High School in Lakewood, RI from 1935 until her graduation in 1940. She then attended St. John’s University, New York in 1973 and then on to Mundelein College where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology in 1975. Sister received a certificate from the Yale-Asia College in Hong Kong in 1978 studying Chinese Literature and Culture. In 1980, she earned her Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago, Department of Political Science, specializing in Modern China Studies.
Sr. Meg entered Maryknoll on September 7, 1943 Maryknoll, NY and made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1946 at Maryknoll, NY receiving the name Rose Bernadette. She made her Final Vows in China on March 7, 1949.
Sister’s first assignment was to Wuchow, China in 1948, which was a very turbulent political period. The years, 1951-1976 in Hong Kong were helping men, women and children, who fled to safety to Chai Waan, a refugee settlement, with basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. The settlement had other programs: rebuilding confidence and dignity, training programs for leadership and microfinance.
In 1976, Sister came back to Maryknoll, NY to serve in Congregational Service on promotion until 1977.
From 1982 to 1985, she taught at Xian Jiaotong University teaching English teaching skills with student professors. In 1985 until 1987, she taught at Beijing University helping student to master research methodology and writing skills. Transferring to the Eastern US Region in 1988, Sister taught foreign students at Towson University near Baltimore, MD. She also taught at Notre Dame College. Assigned to Bangkok, Thailand in 1992, she directed a Maryknoll Safe Shelter for women who had been trafficked, sold to prostitution and children left homeless. The shelter offered counseling services, education for children and medical assistance. The program was turned over to local personnel in 2005.
In 2006, Sister was assigned to the Sudan in Nanyangachor to mission with the Toposa tribal people where poverty was very evident. She was only there a short while, when she had to return to the Center. Here she was involved in Social and Global Concerns, working with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. Her focus was the empowerment of women in all phases of her life, protection for the girl/child against violence and human trafficking.
Sister retired to the Maryknoll Sister Center in 2013 where she has remained until her death. Sr. Meg has so graciously donated her body to science.
A Vespers Service will be held for Sister on February 23rd at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.
A Memorial Mass will be held on February 24th at 10:00 A.M. at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.