60th Jubilee-Sister Marilu Townsend, M.M.

Sister Marilu Townsend, M.M. celebrated her 60th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12th, 2017. She is from Keokuk, Iowa, entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1957.  After her First Profession, Sister Marilu spent three years at the Center, working in the Records Office and serving as Guest Mistress, before beginning the many dedicated years of study that would prepare her for mission work.

Sister Marilu earned her Bachelor Degree in Chemistry at San Francisco College for Women and then her M.D. at Marquette University.  Sister Marilu worked at an Internship at San Joaquin General Hospital, in California, before completing her Residency in Family Practice.

Sister Marilu went on to a General Surgery Residency, and was appointed the Chief Surgery Resident.

It was at this point that Sister Marilu embarked on her first mission outside the continental U.S. to Hawaii, where she worked with eager dedication for eighteen years as an Emergency Room Physician.

Sister Marilu served for several more years in a San Antonio Emergency Room before retiring from medicine and devoting herself to the full-time care of her elderly parents.  On her father’s death, she continued to oversee her mother’s care, while serving with the St. Vincent de Paul Conference in St. Pius X Parish, San Antonio.

Today, Sister Marilu remains in San Antonio, where she lives out her missionary vocation by making God’s love visible through tireless volunteer work.


70th Jubilee-Sister Barbara Barr, M.M.

Sister Barbara Barr, M.M. celebrated her 70th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12th, 2017. She was born in the Canal Zone of the Republic of Panama and entered Maryknoll Sisters in 1947. Assigned to Bolivia in 1952, she taught in Maryknoll Elementary Schools throughout the country. She also did In-service Education of Teachers. By1972,”we helped turn over the schools to lay women teachers whom we had been training for years.Then I began working with informal groups in the rural areas.Together we developed a popular “informal” education program for Scripture study groups as well as groups for empowering and promoting Women.” Sister has also served in Congregational Services at Maryknoll, NY where she now participates in the Rogers Community.

60th Jubilee-Sister Angela Brennan, M.M.

Sister Angela, from Donegal, Ireland, entered Maryknoll in 1957. She has an MA in theology from the University of San Francisco.

Sister Angela went to Hawaii in 1968 and taught and coordinated religion programs in two Catholic schools. She also directed retreat programs, coordinated Bread For The World, and served as chairperson of the Hawaii Council of Churches’ Nature division.

In 1978, Sister Angela went to Northern Ireland, where she ministered to people who sought healing at a reconciliation center run by a community of Christians.

After about a year, she returned to Hawaii and the work she had begun at the high school. From Hawaii, she went to Majuro in the Marshall Islands, where she taught in the Catholic high school.

Sister Angela went to Coelemu, Chile, in 1985. She ministered to people who had suffered through years of civil unrest and violence in their country.

In 1996, Sister Angela went to Kenya, where she was involved in pastoral work. She returned to the United States in 2001 and was pastoral agent at St. Barbara’s Parish in Brooklyn, New York. She also worked in the Hispanic RCIA program and ministered to prisoners and their families.

Sister Angela is currently in El Salvador, where she gives direct ministry to prison inmates, many of whom have no family. She serves at some of El Salvador’s largest prisons, helping out with liturgical celebrations, support groups, and individual spiritual direction.

75th Jubilee-Sister Mary Powers, M.M.

Sister Mary Powers, M.M. celebrated her 75th Jubilee on February 12th, 2017. She was born in Fall River, Massachusetts.  Before joining Maryknoll in 1942, she had worked for five years, as an agent for a periodical publisher’s service. When asked why she joined Maryknoll Sister Mary said, “I wanted to be a missionary and when I visited Maryknoll I just knew it was right for me.”

Sister Mary made her first vows in 1945 and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Maryknoll Teachers College, in 1948. That same year, she made her final commitment as a Maryknoll Sister.

In 1949, Sister Mary received her first mission assignment to Hawaii where she worked for 25 years in the field of education, serving as a teacher and administrator on both the elementary and high school levels.

From 1976-1981, Sister Mary worked at Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York, where she served in the treasury department and as the supervisor of the direct mail office.  Sister Mary returned to Hawaii in 1981 as an administrative assistant for the guidance department and student services at Maryknoll High School.

After decades in the field of education, Sister Mary’s ministry took on a new dimension in 1984. Sister Mary, with the help of the health department, started Project Respect, an interfaith service for the frail elderly, funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Sister Mary served as the director of the project.

In 2010, Sister Mary retired at the Center and her prayer ministry is the Central Pacific.

60th Jubilee-Sister Mary Tracy, M.M.

Sister Mary Tracy, M.M. celebrated her 60th Jubilee on February 12th, 2017. She is from Summit Argo, Illinois, Sister Mary entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1957. She spent her first years as a secretary and also working at the U.S. Postal Service office at Maryknoll. After receiving her B.A. degree in community service in 1970, Sister Mary went to Cochabamba, Bolivia, for Spanish language study.

Arriving in Chile, she worked in the southern sector of Santiago in a población called La Bandera. This was undeveloped farmland that was taken over by a large group of homeless families. She worked in a program of alphabetization and did some community organizing until the September 11, 1973, military coup put an end to her work. After taking a practical nursing course at the local public hospital, she worked in several public health clinics in the area and assisted social workers at a refugee center.

Receiving her nursing degree from Columbia University in 1982, Sister Mary responded to an appeal from Church World Services for nurses to volunteer for a three-month period in the understaffed hospitals of West Beirut, a predominantly Muslim sector of the city. Her emergency hospital was located in a parking garage under a 12-story apartment building.

Sister Mary remembers holding a flashlight between her teeth while she changed dressings. “It’s been a great opportunity to meet and work with the Palestinian and Lebanese patients and staff as well as the international staff of volunteers—a wonderful group of people.”

In 1983 when Sister Mary returned to Chile and a población in Santiago named El Castillo, the military government had already decided on a policy of eradication of slums in many parts of the capital. That policy, along with terrible flooding in another part of the city, sent some 50,000 people to El Castillo, where there were no jobs, no schools, no paved roads, no buses, no clinics, and no electricity. Gradually, electricity and buses were put in, and people went to work in other parts of the city.

In the course of the next 13 years, the Sisters worked with families as they set up soup kitchens. At one point, 2,000 people were eating one main meal a day in 13 different soup kitchens. They also had programs of intensive organic gardening, solar fruit dehydration and a knitting cooperative, and collaborated with other groups in health care and community services, including a day care program for indigent elderly persons.

In 1996, Sister Mary worked for two years as the assistant director of nursing at the Maryknoll Residential Care Center, primarily serving in assisted living.

Back in Chile in 1999, Sister Mary worked in a program offering assistance to the indigent elderly in their homes. She also set up a parish group aimed at visiting the sick in their homes.

At the end of 2000, she returned to the United States to care for her own mother at the family home. “This was a privileged time and I was with her until her death in May of 2005.”

Back in Chile, Sister Mary was part of another parish program, visiting the homebound sick and elderly and residents of a nursing home that housed indigent patients. She was also one of the parish Eucharistic Ministers to bring Communion to these same people.

Sister Mary was assigned to continue her missionary life in the Eastern United States Region in November of 2011.  She is located in Summit Argo, IL where she taught ESL to Polish-speaking religious women during several years, while also assisting an elderly relative and visiting a few homebound parishioners.  The Polish Congregation has since moved out of the parish.


70th Jubilee-Sister Cecilia Santos, M.M.

Sister Cecilia Santos, M.M. celebrated her 70th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12th, 2017. Being a neighbor and a friend is part of what mission is about. Sister Cecelia Santos was affirmed in this when she received the “Distinguished Neighbor” award recommended by the people of Coelemu, Chile in 1991.

Sister Cecelia was born in Paia, Maui, Hawaii, the youngest of eleven children. She had imbibed much about mission through her primary and secondary education with Maryknoll Sisters in Wailuku, Maui. After graduating from high school, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in 1947 and graduated from Maryknoll Teachers College with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1954. Assigned to Hawaii that same year, she taught for eight years in elementary schools in Waialua and Kalihi.

She was assigned to Chile in 1962, and after a year of language study in Pucón, she continued her education ministry as both teacher and principal in Maryknoll schools in Santiago, Curepto and Chillán. Sister Cecelia was loaned to Hawaii in 1970 and 1971 to teach in Wailuku, Maui and Waikiki, Honolulu. On her return to Chile she continued living in Chillán, teaching sixth grade and making time also for a bible study group, a course for mothers to do sacramental preparation, and, as always, home visiting.

In 1976, her energies and talents were shared for two years at Maryknoll, New York in Supportive Services. She then spent a year living with the Maryknoll Sisters Contemplative Community, an experience she treasures.

Sister Cecelia returned to Chile and the town which still holds her special affection, Coelemu. Her pastoral work included supporting Basic Christian Communities, youth ministry, catechetics and training lay leaders. She has been involved in endeavors as diverse as building a chapel with a group of women for their village, to operating an eyeglasses bank for those unable to afford glasses, and being chaplain of a 60 bed hospital. She presides at wakes and funerals when needed and also Sunday celebrations not covered by the pastor.

Of the forty years Sister Cecelia has spent in Chile, she has been a “Distinguished Neighbor” in Coelemu for twenty-eight years. Besides all of the above she has an exceptional singing voice and brightens entertainments with both Hawaiian chants and Spanish songs.

In late 2015, Sister Cecelia returned to Hawaii to begin a new mission.


60th Jubilee-Sister Anne Marie Emdin, M.M.

Sister Anne Marie Emdin celebrated her 60th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12, 2017. She was born in Utica, New York. She graduated from St. Frances de Sales High School and worked one year in the Industrial Bank of Utica before entering the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in 1957.

After working in both the Seminary and Maryknoll Sisters kitchens, it was not surprising that Sister Anne Marie Emdin received her B.S. in Dietetics from Fontbonne College, St. Louis, MO in 1967. She did her Dietetics Internship at Milwaukee General Hospital in 1968. In 1970, Sister Anne Marie Emdin was assigned to Hong Kong and studied Cantonese for two years. Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital was blessed to have Sister Anne Marie as Dietician and Purchasing Dept. Supervisor for four years, after which she changed positions to Pastoral Ministry and Public Relations in the busy Out Patient Dept. for five more years.

In 1979, Sister Anne Marie’s deep concern for the elderly began and continues to this day. In the Chinese culture, the elderly have always been treasured. However, refugee housing in crowded Hong Kong was built for the nuclear family, not the extended family, and many grandmothers found themselves in a lonely situation. So, besides her hospital work in 1979, Sister Anne Marie volunteered as a warden at the Helping Hand Temporary Shelter for the Elderly.

In 1982, Sister Anne Marie became Administrator of Caritas Ying Shui Home for the Elderly in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, a hostel designed to serve the elderly who were able to care for themselves. However, Sister Anne Marie took a drug addict whom no one else would accept and an autistic street sleeper with no known identity, whom they named “Po Chun” (Precious Pearl).

From 1988 to 1991, Sister Anne Marie’s administrative talents were used as center coordinator for our large community at Maryknoll, New York.

On her return in 1992, Sister Anne Marie moved to Macau and began, with the Pastor, Father Peter Chung, Our Lady of Fatima Elderly Center for folks who had been relocated from small-village living to high-rise apartments, which uprooted their social way of life. With a subsidy covering 70 people, the center managed to accommodate three times the number of seniors and more. Sister Anne Marie was a director of the elderly center until 2005.

Now, she is a volunteer who gives pedicure and manicure services, takes blood pressure, gives haircuts, and shares in the programs and outings. Since 90 percent of the elderly in her region are not Christian, some prayer and recreation is done with the Universal Buddhist Association.


70th Jubilee-Sister Kathleen Higgins, M.M.

Sister Kathleen Higgins, M.M. celebrated her 70th Jubilee on February 12th, 2017. She was born in Brooklyn, entered Maryknoll in 1947.  After earning her B.E. at Maryknoll Teachers College, she taught primary school in New York’s Chinatown for five years before setting out on foreign mission to Chile.

On her arrival, Sister Kathleen first dedicated herself to a year of language study.  She then continued her education ministry in primary and secondary school until 1967, when her ministry shifted to pastoral work.

Sister returned to Chile after a six-month furlough and immediately immersed herself in teaching and catechesis.  Full of love for the Chilean people, she served as Coordinator of Religious Education for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade children.  In addition to this she moderated the parish youth group, taught English and Religion, and even acted as Middle School Principal for a time.

Then, in 1972, Sister Kathleen returned to the Center, where she worked in Information Services and Direct Mail until 1974.  She next spent a year working in New Jersey with the Cuban population before going again to Chile to devote herself to another almost ten years of pastoral and catechetical work, including ministry to women and youth.  During her final two years in South America, Sister Kathleen gave her love and energy in the slums, ministering to the poor and marginalized through soup kitchens, sewing groups, and many other types of service.

Since 1984, Sister has worked in various U.S. mission centers, first at the Center and the Seminary, then in NYC, San Jose, Redwood City, Los Angeles, and finally Monrovia, where she remains today.  Throughout these years she has served in pastoral, teaching, and catechetical work:  serving in numerous ways, from homeless shelters and RCIA programs to Bible groups and ESL classes.  Today she is an active and loving member of the Monrovia community.


60th Jubilee-Sister MaryLou Rajdl, M.M.

Sister MaryLou Rajdl, M.M. celebrated her 60th Jubilee on February 12th, 2017. When Sister Mary Lou arrived at Maryknoll, NY in 1957, she looked up at the Sisters Center and said, “Coming from a farming community in Minnesota, my first thought as I looked up at the building was, “it sure would hold a lot of hay!”

Through her years in mission Sister Mary Lou has endeared herself regaling everyone with her great sense of humor as a story teller, spiritual director, nurse, and retreat director. Assigned to Hong Kong in 1963 she pursued Cantonese language study and then worked as out patient department supervisor at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in a small clinic extremely hectic, crowded and busy. Patients and staff noticed her kindness and patience.

In Lantau Island, Sister Mary Lou extended the hospital’s Community Nursing and also had a Prayer Presence ministry. Back in Hong Kong she gave activity-oriented programs in Creation Spirituality, conducting retreats  in Vietnamese camps, spirituality days for Catholic and ecumenical groups and clown ministry sessions. Developing the leadership in the group, she asked them to name the theme they wished which gave insights into their needs. She changed students’ ideas of what a retreat could be.

In 1978 Sister Mary Lou was assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region and worked in Chinatown, Chicago primarily as medical/social work interpreter, taking many Chinese to clinics and hospitals. She also served as the school nutritionist and was its community representative. Sister Mary Lou continues to do pastoral ministry with the Chinese and Burmese; is a Spiritual Director and part time Instructor; a member of the Maryknoll Society Review Board and oversees the Maryknoll Sisters Orientation house in Chicago during the months when they are at the Center in NY.

70th Jubilee-Sister Jean Fallon, M.M.

Sister Jean Fallon, M.M. celebrated her 70th Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister on February 12th, 2017. She was born in Seattle, WA, on May 7, 1930, Sister Jean Fallon entered Maryknoll sisters from St. Joseph’s Parish, Seattle, at their motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, on September 6, 1947.  She made her first profession on March 7, 1950, receiving the religious name Sister M. Therese Martin, and her final vows on March 7, 1953, in Saiin, Japan.

Her first assignment was as a parish catechetical worker in Kyoto, Japan, where she served from 1951-1953. She then continued the same work at a parishes in Saiin, Japan, from 1953-1955; Ostu from 1955-1962, Takano from 1962-1965, and Yokkaichi from 1965-1969.

Sister Jean then returned to Kyoto where she was an English teacher as well as parish worker there, as well as in Tsu and Mie Ken from 1969-1971.  She was then appointed to the congregation’s Regional Governing Board, working as well in communications, retreat work, as a bookkeeper and English teacher from 1971-1973. She also worked in Christian community formation in 1973.

Sister Jean then returned to the United States, where she served on the congregation’s World Awareness Team for the western States from 1974-1979.

Later in 1979, she returned to Japan, where she first became involved in justice and peace ministry, conducting exposure programs for religious, while also serving as a media work translator and English teacher, from 1979-2000.

She then returned to the United States, where she worked as an associate of Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, from 2001-2006.  She continues to be active in speaking and demonstrating on peace and justice issues in the New York Metropolitan area, as well as serving short-term with Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization working for peace in the most deeply war-torn areas of the world.