Leadership Team

Sister Teresa Hougnon,


Born in Loup City, NE, Sister Teresa entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY and earned a Bachelor of Science in National Security/Public Affairs.  She also served in the Army in Germany and worked in a women’s shelter in Brooklyn, New York before entering the Congregation. She has served in East Timor as a Principal of a High School and in Kenya, East Africa focusing on peace-building and conflict transformation for the past 16 years. The Maryknoll Sisters peace team in is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The focus of the team’s ministry is “Conversations for Social Change,” a program designed to effect social change through personal transformation.

Sister Genie Natividad,


Born in Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, Sister Genie graduated from Diadi National High School, Philippines and then studied three years in college taking Psychology. Prior to joining the Congregation, she served with the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation and as a lay missioner with the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle. She has served in Kenya, East Africa working with children, in Chicago with mentally challenged people, a prison ministry and young women at a detention center, in Tanzania with abused orphans and HIV/AIDS adult group and most recently in Hawaii to study holistic health, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY as the Chi Rho (retired sisters) community Coordinator, and at the U.S. Mexico border providing aid to migrants.

Sister Maria Leonor Montiel, General Secretary

A native of  Looc Romblon, Philippines, Sister Leonor received a B.A. in Communications from Ateneo de Manila University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to joining the Congregation, she work with Amerisian – Vietnamese Refugees the Philippine Refugee Processing Center with International Catholic Migration Commission. Assigned to Cambodia in 1997, Sister Len is fluent in the Khmer Language and has been involved in a variety of ministries. She was a member of the Maryknoll Mekong Mission Coordinating Team and then a member of the Maryknoll Asia South Service Team from and worked with the Youth Resource Development Program as an Adviser, helping in their process of becoming a local NGO and in curriculum development. She started the Maryknoll Cambodia Anlong Kngan Community Development Project for the forcefully evicted urban poor informal settlers, including people living with HIV and AIDS. Sister Len served as Director of Seedling of Hope, HIV & AIDS Response which helped people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS in poverty improved their quality of life and fulfill their basic human rights of health, education, livelihood and shelter. She also taught at the Department of Social Work, Royal University of Phnom Penh, and was on a founding board of directors for the Association of Social Workers in Cambodia. Sister Len was also involved with the Catholic Church Students Center in Phnom Penh, facilitating reflections and was a member of its board for years. During this time, she taught at the St Jean Marrie Vianney Catholic Seminary in Phnom Penh. Most recently she has been serving as the Renewal Coordinator at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.

Sister Elizabeth Zwareva,

Team Member

Born in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland, Zimbabwe (known then as Rhodesia), Sister Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Joseph School of Nursing in Reading, PA, a second Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Marymount/Fordham University, NY and a Masters Degree in Bioethics from Western University, Cleveland, OH. Prior to entering the Congregation, she passed her PA State Nursing Boards and returned to Zimbabwe where she worked at St. Ann’s Hospital, Brunnapeg and Gweru General Hospital, Gweru. She has served in Bolivia in a variety of different ministries: in a hospital clinic, performing health education-which provided a weekly ration of food for poor mothers, and she offered basic health care training. She spent a good deal of time in the soup kitchens in the poor barrios as a way to find out who was sick and needed care, she also served as the administrative secretary for the Institute of Bioethics at the Catholic University of Bolivia and saw the need to integrate bioethics as an academic subject in school. In 2011, she was serving on the staff of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns in New York, where she works to increase exposure at the United Nations on issues that affect the poor. Her latest role has been working as a Spiritual Director for Christians seeking to grow in their spiritual life and she earned another Degree in Christian Spirituality with a concentration in Spiritual Direction.