Eleven Maryknoll Sisters to Celebrate 50th Jubilees

Maryknoll, NY —  Eleven women religious will celebrate their 50th jubilees with Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in 2015, ten of them at a Mass to be held at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY, on Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. in their Main Chapel. Another sister will celebrate the occasion at her mission site in Tanzania.

Sisters who will be celebrating 50 years as Maryknoll Sisters include:

Barrozo,Rosalinda headshotSister Rosalinda Barrozo from the Philippines.  Sister Rosalinda has worked with immigrants in Hawaii for nearly 40 years, and previously worked in pastoral ministry in the Philippines. Currently she is assistant spiritual director of the Filipino Catholic Club at St. Anthony’s Church, Kailua, HI, where she also serves as lector and Eucharistic minister.

Bautista, Imelda headshotSister Imelda Bautista from the Philippines. Sister Imelda has served since 1970 in Tanzania, teaching at the university level, as well as in post-apartheid Namibia, helping improve the quality of education and the integration process in Catholic schools under the Bishops’ Conference.  She also served on her congregation’s Central Governing Board and as Congregational Treasurer.

Cardillo, Alice headshotSister Alice Cardillo from Sayre, PA.  Sister Alice has worked as a nurse in Korea for 18 years, 12 of them with leprosy patients. She then worked at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, providing nursing care to elderly and infirm members of her congregation, at the Maryknoll Archives. Sister Alice also volunteers at Calvary Hospital, Bronx, NY, in pastoral care services, and was given a certificate of appreciation from the hospital in 2014 for her 11 years of dedicated service there.

Glass, Susan headshotSister Susan Glass from Milwaukee, WI. Sister Susan has spent many years doing pastoral work in Hong Kong and Macau, particularly in ministry to youth. Prior to her work there, Sister Sue taught fifth grade, served as art coordinator, and worked in the Department of Religious Education in Honolulu, HI.

King, Shirley photographerSister Shirley King from Greensburg, PA. Sister Shirley is the congregational photographer for Maryknoll Sisters, having travelled most recently to Asia, where she captured many of the Sisters at their work. Previously, she worked in health education and catechetics in Bolivia, then as parish administrator and health worker in Peru.

Krautkremer, ConnieSister Connie Krautkremer from Montgomery, MN. Sister Connie works in Tanzania, equipping women with skills, self-awareness and empowerment to help them realize their full potential.  A past member of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregational Leadership Team and director of the Maryknoll Mission Institute, she has served in Tanzania for most of her missioner life.

Maulawin, Nora (2)Sister Nora Malauwin, a native of the Philippines. Sister Nora has worked primarily as a religious educator in Indonesia and in pastoral ministry in East Timor. She has also served as Creative Productions Writer for the congregation at their Center near Ossining, NY.

Omana, Amelia (3)Sister Amelia Omaña from the Philippines. Sister Amelia has served primarily in her home country with Maryknoll Sisters. She has worked in finance, pastoral ministry, school and office administration, and with the congregation’s Donor Services Department at Maryknoll, NY.

Ryan, Pat 2015 Non-Smiling headshotSister Patricia Ryan from Levittown, NY. Sister Pat has served the Peruvian people since 1971. During her 44 years there, she has become an ardent advocate and defender of human and environmental rights, especially of the Aymara and Quechua people of the Altiplano, among whom she makes her home.

Yu, Lucy (2)Sister Lucia Yu from Korea. Sister Lucia is a physician who has treated the sick and infirm in Tanzania, Kenya, her native Korea and the Maryknoll Sisters Center near Ossining, NY. A convert to Catholicism from Buddhism, her work has earned her many awards, including the Korean Medical Association’s Medical Service Award in 2005.

Bunuan, BibianaSister Bibiana Bunuan, a native of the Philippines, has worked locally to educate people about and bring an end to human trafficking. She is currently based in Tanzania, where she will celebrate her anniversary, and has initiated community-based health care and women’s development programs in both Tanzania and Namibia.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 24 countries around the world, they now number 458 members from both the US and overseas.

Nuns try to raise money for new windows

OSSINING – A group of nuns in Ossining are asking for the public’s help.

The Maryknoll Sisters are raising money to get new windows in their home.

They say their current windows are 50 years old, have poor insulation and are difficult to open and close. “I would like to get all the benefit of the air but I know if it rains and the window is wide open, I can’t get it down,” says Sister Noel Doescher.

Read More:  Westchester Top Stories

The sisters, whose mission began in 1912, were the first group of Catholic Sisters in the United States founded for overseas mission. Most of the nuns spend 40 to 50 years in overseas mission, and Ossining is where they come to live when they return.

The order has approximately 500 members from 29 nations serving in 25 countries worldwide.

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Maryknoll windows in dire need of replacement

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.

The temperature is in the 80s, it’s a little on the sticky side and you don’t have air conditioning. What to do?

Open a window and go “ahhh,” as you catch a nice little breeze and breath of fresh air.

Unless you’re one of the 200 Maryknoll Sisters at the “Motherhouse,” the convent building where members of the Catholic order live after spending most of their lives doing missionary work in the neediest corners of the globe.

In that case, you very well might be out of luck.

Records show that the 92-year-old building’s windows haven’t been replaced since the 1950s. Many are cracked and damaged and most will only open a few inches, if at all. While they are spiritually strong, the nuns — many in their 70s, 80s and 90s — don’t have the muscle power to open or close windows that have been stuck for decades. Backs have been thrown. Muscles have been pulled. Arthritis has been aggravated.

And no one complains.

“We’ve all spent our lives working toward the betterment of our missions,” said 84-year-old Sister Jeanne Houlihan says, in explaining the prevailing attitude. “We tend to accept what is, and hope something will change. We don’t complain about our own discomforts. I may want something, but I ask myself if I really need it. If I find that I don’t, I won’t ask for it.”

But even Houlihan, who spent 46 years running a school for girls in Hong Kong, now acknowledges the need to replace the convent’s 403 windows, at a cost of about $1,200 each. The order has produced a YouTube video describing the need.

“It will take a lot of hands and a lot of hearts to make this a success,” she said of the new effort to raise the money. “But one thing we have plenty of here is faith. It would be a great comfort for us to be able to open and close our windows.”

Sister Noelle Doescher keeps her window open a few inches in the summer. If she opens it more and it starts to rain, she has trouble closing it. The heat doesn’t bother the 89-year-old too much. After working with the poor in Kenya for 38 years as a nurse, she’s used to it.

The cold, however, is another story. And winter is coming.

“It’s very drafty,” Doescher said of the large opening, which measures about 6-foot high and 3-feet wide. “When you’re older you don’t notice the temperature so much, but in the wintertime it can get freezing in here, even though I leave the window closed.”

Maryknoll officials are hopeful that their lower Hudson Valley neighbors will do what they can to help pay to replace the windows. Of particular concern are those on the fourth floor, which serves as a nursing home for the sick and frail sisters, and the third, which is used as an assisted living facility.

“The sisters aren’t going to put themselves first,” said Maryknoll spokeswoman Chelsea Waller. “I think it’s our job, as a community, to step up and try to help them and take care of them, for all the good they’ve done in the world. They certainly deserve to have their basic needs taken care of. Any donation helps, no matter how small. And the sisters will be grateful for any amount people can give.”

Twitter: @RichLiebson

Ways to donate:

Visit their website at www.maryknollsisters.org and clicking the “Support Us” link

Click on the “Donate” tab of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc. page on Facebook.

Checks, made out to “Maryknoll Sisters” with “window renovation” noted in the memo line, can be mailed to: Maryknoll Sisters, 10 Pinesbridge Road, Ossining, NY 10562.

Old Windows At Ossining Convent Have Elderly Nuns Suffocating Through The Summer

OSSINING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Elderly nuns in Westchester said they feel trapped in suffocating heat in their convent, because of old windows that desperately need to be replaced.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the sisters who have helped others, now need help themselves.

“I love it. It’s my home,” Sister Noel Doescher said.

Web Extra: Help Out The Maryknoll Sisters

Doescher, 89, spent nearly 40 years in Kenya as a missionary for the Maryknoll Sisters.

Now, she along with 200 other nuns, some in their 90s and older are at the ‘motherhouse’ up the Hudson River in Ossining, to either recharge or retire from traveling.

“I chose this life, and I’m very happy that I did,” Doescher said.

But, she’s looking forward to a better window. Doescher can barely open and close the one in her bedroom, neither could CBS2’s Sanchez.

The 92-year-old convent building window’s haven’t been replaced since the 1950s. On hot days like Tuesday, some nuns can’t crack them open to find relief from the heat.

“You have to open it like this and hope it stays there, and then ugh, I can’t move it,” Doescher said.

More than 400 windows need to be replaced. Each one costs $1,200 and there isn’t any money the budgets for the new windows. For the missionary sisters asking for help instead of providing it isn’t easy.

“We don’t like to complain,” Doescher said.

The nuns have pulled muscles and injured their backs because of the deteriorating windows, so they decided to turn to social media.

“Our energy bills are to the skies, which means the money that we’re giving to the electric company we could be using for the poor. So, in a way, asking for the windows is a way of responsibility and accountability,” the nuns said in a youtube video.

After always putting others first, perhaps now others will step forward to care for them.

Star of A.D.: The Bible Continues   Found Inspiration for Her Role from Her Godmother, a Maryknoll Sister

Maryknoll, NY    Many years ago, when she was only a toddler, A.D.: The Bible Continues star Chipo Chung was living with her mother, Fay, at a camp for Zimbabwean refugees in Mozambique. That’s where they met Sister Janice McLaughlin, MM, a journalist who had come to Africa, Chung says, “to work in solidarity with the liberation movement…. She worked as a journalist, speaking truth to power against the apartheid regime, and she was arrested for this.”  (Sister Janice’s reports for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace about the atrocities of Ian Smith’s forces during the liberation war led to her arrest and deportation from then Rhodesia in 1977.)

Sister Janice and Chipo’s mother formed a deep bond, both working and living together, and Sister Janice helping to raise the young Chipo, as well as working alongside her mother at the camp.  The relationship continues to this day, and conversations on theology with Sister Janice helped Chipo prepare for her role as Mary Magdalene on the NBC series, which airs Sundays through June 21, 2015, nationwide.

McLaughlin, Janice and Godchild Chipo Chung“Fay recruited me to teach a class in journalism to the trainee teachers (at the camp),” Sister Janice recalled of her initial contact with Chipo and her mother in 1979, “and we produced a camp newsletter.” When independence finally came for their homeland in 1980, the refugees, including the Chungs, returned to Zimbabwe, and Sister Janice went with them, accepting Fay’s invitation to live with her and Chipo, since there were no other Maryknoll Sisters in the country at the time.  “They more or less adopted me and I was a part of the extended family,” Sister Janice said. “Fay, Chipo and I would visit our friends from the camps on weekends. I taught Chipo how to make peanut butter cookies. We went swimming in a nearby public pool, et cetera. We had lots of fun together.  When Chipo decided to become a Catholic, I was her godmother.”

“My mother was very clever in selecting my godparents,” Chipo recalls, “my granduncle, Garvin, who was extremely devout and the patriarch of my Chinese family, and Sister Janice who was far more flexible and approachable. My godparents were also good friends with each other and were a fine balance of masculine discipline and feminine creativity.

“Janice had already been a second mother to me,” Chipo added, “and had helped raise me. She was not a godparent who disappeared. She was very present as a fun part of my family. It’s been wonderful to have her as a resource while doing my current job as Mary Magdalene and to have theological discussions as adults. She and the Maryknoll Sisters and always encouraged me that Catholicism is a dynamic, living and evolving spiritual philosophy.  Playing Mary Magdalene, I have often thought of Janice and the Maryknoll Sisters. The early Christian suffered such dangers and were at the frontline of persecution. In our story, there were many refugees coming to the camp to escape the violence in Jerusalem.  I thought of the work my mother and Janice did in the camps while we were filming. Women have always been present, binding the community, finding food, clothing, shelter for those in need, making sure the children have someone watching them, identifying the ones who are most in need, and this is what my character was doing during Episodes 3-6 of AD: The Bible Continues.”

“Although this storyline is made up, it does have some truth to it: women like the Maryknoll Sisters have gone out in times of war and put themselves at risk. Perhaps the fact that they were women made it easier for them to infiltrate risky territories, but this does not undermine the absolute courage this kind of work takes and the threat to their lives.  There’s so much to learn from women and how they work through conflict and the Maryknoll Sisters are certainly part of this.

In a post on her Facebook page May 18 which shared news of Maryknoll’s two-day celebration of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s beatification on May 22-23, 2015 at Maryknoll, Chung reflected on the murders of two other Maryknoll Sisters, Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, who were killed, again for their solidarity work, this time  in El Salvador in 1980, along with other missionaries following the leadership of Archbishop Romero. “They were providing food and shelter to those affected by the civil war,” Chung recounted, and “are amongst the 75,000 El Salvadorians murdered in the conflict. Respect to the great work of these sisters as they celebrate the Beatification of Archbishop Romero, and remember his bravery in the face of violence and hate. Love always, never hate,” she added.

Sister Janice beams with pride as she considers the success of her godchild. “I have watched Chipo grow up and become a very talented and intelligent actress. She has researched widely for the role of Mary Magdalene, reading many of the feminist theologians such as Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault to understand better the role of women in the early church. I am extremely proud of her and hope the NBC series will be a success.”  If it is, a second season will be produced.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 24 countries around the world, they now number 458 members from both the US and overseas.

Maryknoll Celebrates Beatification of Archbishop Romero

RomeroMass_pic4 cr
Sister Josephine Lucker, MM, who served in El Salvador from 1997-2004, reads from II Chronicles 24: 18-21, during the Mass celebrating Archbishop Romero’s beatification at Maryknoll on May 23.

More than 350 people gathered at the Queen of Apostles Chapel at the Maryknoll Mission Center in Ossining, New York, for a Mass to celebrate the beatification of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador this past Saturday, May 23, 2015.  Archbishop Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in the hospital Church of the Divine Providence in San Salvador on March 24, 1980.

Archbishop Romero holds a special place in the hearts of Maryknollers, particularly those who came to know him and draw strength from him during their service in Central America, as well as because of two Maryknoll Sisters, Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, and Lay Missioner Jean Donovan, who prepared for mission with Maryknoll, all of whom were killed because of their work with the poor in El Salvador, just months after Romero’s murder. 

The Maryknoll chapel resounded with song and prayers of thanksgiving, both in English and Spanish as well as with cries of “Viva Romero,” for the courageous life of this gentle man of prayer. The celebration was presented by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, Maryknoll Lay Missioners and Maryknoll Affiliates.

Archbishop Romero’s commitment to social justice, which cost him his life, was of great importance to all Maryknoll missioners, both during his lifetime as well as today. Through our combined efforts in overseas Catholic mission, Maryknoll as a whole continues to work for social justice and, like Romero, to be a voice for the poor in Latin America, as well as other nations around the world.

At the homily of the Mass, Romero’s last radio sermon, given the day before his assassination, was read both in English and again in Spanish. In this sermon he called on the soldiers of the army to refuse to obey orders given them to carry out the torture, rape and killing of their own countrymen, but to obey the law of God –“Thou shalt not kill”!  He said, “No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God.” The next morning he was shot. His last words were, “May God have mercy on the assassin.”

Oscar Romero was named Archbishop of El Salvador in 1977 with the approval of the wealthy conservative population of his country and its government, little realizing that he would soon become the champion of those they were oppressing – the Poor.

It was the murder of his friend, Rev. Rutilio Grande, the first priest to be killed for aiding poor ‘campesinos’, that awakened Romero to what was actually happening in El Salvador from the perspective of the victims. He announced that he refused to take part in any government ceremonies while the assassins were not brought to justice. A diocesan legal aid office was opened to document the murders and disappearances of victims and to aid families who were brutally affected. He became the “Voice of the Voiceless” fearlessly using the archdiocesan radio, naming on radio those victims who had suffered atrocities and those who were their persecutors.

Romero changed his whole way of ministering by going to the people in the barrios and countryside, listening to them and daring to denounce a government and society whose “economic systems we benefit from, built on the backs of the poor.” He was living out the “OPTION FOR THE POOR” promulgated by the Latin American Bishops Conference at Medellín, Colombia in 1968 and today by Pope Francis in his exhortation, “Joy of the Gospel”.

The Archbishop’s courage and audacity in opting for the poor led him to his death, which he fully recognized and accepted as following in Christ’s footsteps. When friends tried to persuade him to have protection his response was, “Why should the shepherd have protection when his sheep are still prey to wolves?” He was accused of being a Marxist and siding with terrorists. Threats became more intense, but this deeply spiritual man would not be silenced. He spoke against violence committed by both sides – right and left – and pleaded for “dialogue, social justice for the poor, human rights for all Salvadorans and the practice of compassion.” He said, “I don’t want to be ‘anti’ against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of a God who loves us and wants to save us.”

Mission Institute Program Explores New Way to Do Justice

Nancy Sylvester Flyer 2Maryknoll, NY —  “Increasing inequality, pervasive violence, divisive politics…what has all of our work for social justice meant?” wonders Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, founder of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, Detroit, MI.

The instructor for Maryknoll Mission Institute’s upcoming five-day program, “Upstart Spring: Imagine Justice… Exploration into God,” to be held May 10-15, at Maryknoll Sisters Center, 10 Pinesbridge Road, Ossining, NY, Sister Nancy, will help participants to explore this question by challenging them to “deepen (their) contemplative practice communally and imagine new ways of being with each other, with all beings on Earth and with the Divine.”  The group will also explore what it means to exercise contemplative power and imagine doing justice in new ways.

Past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Sister Nancy serves as president of the Institute and executive director of its major project, Engaging Impasse: Circlues of Contemplation and Dialogue® and its various programs, including Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty.  She has served as an advisor on the United States Bishops’ International Policy Committee and a member of the board of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, where she was a founding member. Nancy holds a master’s degree in human development, with a concentration in economics and theology, from St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from St. Louis University.

The cost for the five-day program is $200, plus a one-time $50 registration fee.  For more information or to register, call 914-941-7575, ext. 5671, or visit us online at www.maryknollsisters.org/mmi.

Sisters to Join People’s Climate March

peoples_climate_march smlMaryknoll, NY – Maryknoll Sisters will be among those faith groups marching in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21, 2014 in New York City. The March will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Columbus Circle and 59th Street, walk down Sixth Avenue to 42nd Street, cross to 11th Avenue and continue to 34th Street, where the March will end.

According to its organizers, a coalition of more than 1,000 organizations, the March is a mass demonstration for climate action which they hope will inspire “action, not words” at the Climate Change Summit, taking place two days later at the United Nations.  President Obama and other world leaders will attend the Summit, hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It is seen as a critical moment to build momentum for a new international climate treaty that countries hope to finalize in Paris next December.

Faith-based groups and those interested in marching with them are asked to begin assembly at 10:30 a.m., on 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. The Dominican Sisters contingency, of which Maryknoll Sisters are a part, will meet at the Subway Restaurant at 314 W 58th Street.  The faith-based groups are expected to enter the March around 12:30 p.m.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 24 countries around the world, they now number 459 members from both the US and overseas.

“Trailblazers in Habits” To Show at Society on March 27

trailblazers in habits4_0Ossining, NY —  “Trailblazers in Habits”, a 90-minute film documenting the pioneer work of Maryknoll Sisters, the first U.S.-based congregation of Catholic women religious dedicated to foreign mission, will be shown Friday, March 27, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the Asia Room at Maryknoll Society Mission Center, 55 Ryder Road, Ossining, NY.   Sisters featured in the film will be on hand to greet attenders and will answer questions following the showing.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

“Trailblazers in Habits” tells the story, in the Sisters’ own words, of the congregation’s work in education, healthcare, and the cause of social justice. A moving and absorbing chronicle that spans 100 years and several continents, the film celebrates the intelligence and tenacity, the love, compassion and generosity of these early feminists.

Production of the film was almost entirely funded by donations from the thousands who attended Maryknoll schools around the world. Maryknollers wanted a way to tell the full story of the Sisters’ contributions to their communities, from the building of schools and hospitals around the world to helping lay the foundation of Hong Kong’s social welfare system.

By turns tragic and joyous, yet always inspirational, this insightful documentary by award-winning director Nancy Tong, is a revealing portrait of these courageous women and a timely testimony to the Sisters’ lifelong dedication to helping the disenfranchised.

For more information, please contact Sue Palmer, Communications Manager, at 914-941-7575, ext. 5687 or by e-mail at communications@mksisters.org