Called to be Wholemakers: Sisters Celebrate Jubilees

Moore, Suzanne addresses Jubilarians The call to be “wholemakers” was emphasized to Maryknoll Sisters at a special Mass held this past Sunday, February 15, 2015, to honor  members of the congregation celebrating their 75th, 70th and 60th jubilees with Maryknoll Sisters at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Referencing Bible passages from the day’s Mass, which told of Jesus healing a leper, despite the fact that He would be considered “unclean” by the religious authorities of His day simply because He had touched him,  Sister Suzanne Moore, one of the jubilarians, drew an analogy with the work they, as Maryknoll Sisters were called to do. Like Jesus, the Sisters were called to reach out to those who were broken or rejected in society and do what they could to make them whole.

“We Maryknollers are welcomers,” Sister Suzanne said. “We try to make people feel whole.  We are wholemakers. Those who come to us we strive to receive warmly. Our smile, our touch becomes their understanding that we care, just as theirs does for us. … It takes faith and courage to welcome the outcast, to bring that person the clarity that they matter to God and to us, to love and assist them.

Jubilee 60th Feb. 2015 012 sm“Oppression doesn’t fit today,” Sister Suzanne further commented, alluding to scientific discoveries of an ever expanding universe and teachings of theologians such as Teihard de Chardin that have led to wider, more embracing understandings of our cosmos and what it means to live as Christians in today’s world. “We hear the voices of those in need. Lepers, immigrants, the abused, human traffickers, children robbed of their childhood, people of every land are our sisters and brothers, deserving of and asking for recognition, justice and inclusion. According to Ched Meyers in his book, Binding the Strong Man, the lepers represent the presence of life-long oppression, and Jesus took steps to annihilate that… and brought us to a greater understanding of the great love God has for each creature… none to be left behind. What a challenge!  Yes, we have embraced it and we will continue to do so.”

A separate Mass for Sisters celebrating 75 years with the congregation will be held in the Fourth Floor Chapel of Maryknoll Sisters Center next Sunday, February 22, 2015, at 11 a.m.

Ten other Sisters, each marking half a century of service with Maryknoll, will celebrate their milestone at another Mass, to be held August 2, 2015, at the Center.  Three Sisters marking a quarter century of service will do so on Sunday, September 13, 2015, in Japan.

Those Sisters celebrating 60, 70 and 75 years with the congregation in 2015 include:

Jubilee trio Mary Naab, Vivian Votruba Alice Regina McGinn 2015 225 sm75 Years

Sister Alice Regina McGinn of Providence, RI. Sister Alice Regina has served as a principal, teacher and catechetics instructor in Bolivia and Peru. She also has been involved in pastoral ministry at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other parishes in Providence. She holds a B.S. in education from Maryknoll Teachers College.

Sister Mary Naab of Passaic, NJ. Sister Mary is a social worker who has served most of her time with Maryknoll in the Pacific. She has been in management with Catholic Social Services in Hawaii and California, and helped  establish a CSS program in American Samoa.

Sister Vivian Votruba of Minneapolis, MN. Sister Vivian is a medical doctor and has spent most of her 75 years in Bolivia and Peru.  She also served in a hospital on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico and gave public health service at St. Catherine’s Mission in Minnesota, and currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, NY.

Jubilee 70th Feb. 2015 106 sm70 Years

Sister Camille Marie Black of Andover, NY. Sister Camile Marie served as nursing supervisor of medical, surgical and pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Manapla, Philippines; assistant director of Colegio Monte Maria boarding school, Guatemala City, Guatemala; and nurse in a clinic, then hospital, also in Guatemala.

Sister Louise Bullis of Brooklyn, NY. Sister Louise served in Hawaii, as a teacher and religious education coordinator, for 55 years.  She has made her home at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining since 2007, and was active in coordinating special events for the congregation’s 100th anniversary in 2012.

Sister Cecile Therese Burton of Washington, DC.  Sister Cecile Therese was an educator, then religious education coordinator, in Hawaii for 38 years. She then worked with women in prisons and shelters in Hawaii from 1991-1999.

Sister Maria Rosario Daley of Albany, NY. She was a teacher, then guidance counselor,  and finally sacristan and Eucharistic minister in Hawaii, where she currently makes her home. She also taught mathematics at Mary Rogers College, Ossining, NY, and served as personnel coordinator of lay employees at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, also in Ossining.

Sister Noel Chabanel Devine of Philadelphia, PA.  Sister Noel taught at St. Therese’s School in Chicago’s Chinatown from 1959-1969 and 1983, serving also as religion coordinator for both school and parish from 1985-1991, directing the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.  She also taught at Maryknoll Sisters Secondary School in Hong Kong, where she also established a guidance and counseling department, from 1969-1972, and in the congregation’s Archives office from 1980-1983.  She presently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Sister Doretta Leonard of New York, NY. A graduate of Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, Brooklyn, NY, Sister Doretta taught and did catechetical  and parish work in China for 54 years. She has made her home at the Maryknoll Sisters Center since 2005.

Sister Marie Morgan of Pittsburgh, PA.  A pharmacist with a certificate in clinical pastoral education, Sister Marie worked at Queen of the World Hospital, one of the nation’s first interracial hospitals, in Kansas City, MO; doing leadership training, catechetics and facilitating a weaver’s cooperative in Jacatenango, Huehuetenango, Guatemala; worked in AIDS preventative education in Guatemala and El Salvador, and pastoral ministry in Mexico.  She currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Sister Joan Ratermann of St. Louis, MO.  Sister Joan served in Chile for 49 years. During that time, she work as a teacher, principal, catechetical trainer, Bible study group and retreat leader, as well as in pastoral ministry. She now lives at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY, where she worked in the Development Department from 2005-2009, and, since then, is dedicated wholly to prayer for the Chilean people.

Sister M. Katharine Razwad of Boston, MA. Sister Katharine taught in the South Pacific for 18 years, then, after earning a master’s degree in counseling and psychology at Boston College, worked as a counselor from 1973-1975 and in preventative counseling on the elementary school level in the Boston Public School System from 1976-1983.  She also served as a substitute teacher for the Boston school system and as a guidance counselor for St. Brigid’s School, Boston, from 1990-1995. She currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Sister Maria Rieckelman of Cincinnati, OH.  Sister Maria is a physician and psychiatrist. She worked in Asia, first Korea, then Hong Kong, for 13 years, then embarked upon 27 years of itinerant ministry to other missioners and leaders in 30 different nations, helping them face issues of interpersonal growth, leadership, trauma and stress through workshops, retreats and individual counseling. She currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Sister Gloria Ryan of Brooklyn, NY. Sister Gloria served in the Philippines for 19 years, first as a teacher then working with the poor in Filipino barrios. She then returned to the United States where she worked with runaway girls at St. Brigid’s Convent, New York, NY, and taught in the adult education program of the Rochambeau School, White Plains, NY. She also worked with Salvadoran refugees out of St. Brigid’s Convent, Westbury, NY.  Sister Gloria currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

Sister Kathryn Shannon of Oconomowoc, WI.  Sister Kathryn has taught in New York, Hawaii, and Tanzania, where she also worked in primary evangelization, religion, literacy, leadership traing, adult education and community development.  She also served in Zimbabwe, where she taught at the Danhiko School for former Freedom Fighters and at St. Alphonsus Parish, where she was also involved with community development.  She also served as a teacher and catechist trainer in Southern Sudan, and was  involved with justice and peace issues via the Maryknoll Sisters’ Center Cerns Committee at their Center in Ossining, NY.  She presently makes her home at Maryknoll Sisters Convent, Monrovia, CA.

60 Years

Sister Theresa Baldini of Brooklyn, NY, has been part of her congregation’s contemplative community since 1963.  During that time, she has not only served in the congregation’s contemplative community near Ossining, NY, where she presently resides, but founded such communities among the Navajo people in New Mexico and in Sudan.

Sister Mary Edna Brophy of High River, AB, Canada. A medical missioner, Sister Mary Edna has spent most of her 60 years in Hong Kong, where she has train others in nursing and provided administration at hospitals and clinics.  She has also provided health care to the elderly and infirm of her own congregation near Ossining, NY.

Sister Joyce Burch of Memphis, TN. A medical technician and nurse, Sister Joyce has served at Queen of the World Hospital, Kansas City, MO, the first interracial U.S. hospital, then in Tanzania and Kenya, finally working to care for the health of ill and elderly Maryknoll Sisters at its Center near Ossining, NY, where she currently resides.

Sister Elizabeth Burns of Hartford, CT. A medical missioner, Sister Elizabeth has provided health care in Korea and the United States.  Now residing at the Sisters Center near Ossining, NY, she became recipient of Distinguished Managerial Service Award  from the State of Connecticut in 1987 for her work with the Connecticut State Health Department from 1973-1999. During that time, she served first as a hospital inspector  and consultant, then as Chief of Licensure and Certification of Medical Facilities, then as Director of Hospital and Medical Care, and finally as Chief of Staff of the Health Department.

Sister Anne Callahan of Lowell, MA has served two terms as Treasurer of her congregation, located near Ossining, NY. She has served as an educator and principal in Hawaii, as well as a pastoral worker in Mexico and Guatemala. She currently lives in Baltimore, MD.

Sister Marlene Condon of Montevideo, MN. Sister Marlene is a medical missioner who served at Queen of the World Hospital, the nation’s first interracial hospital, in Kansas City, MO, as well as Chile and Guatemala. She is currently director of St. Mary’s Hospice, Pajapita, Guatemala.

Sister Kathleen Kelly of Chicago, IL. Sister Kathleen most recently served at Mujeres Latinas en Accion, a bilingual social service agency in Chicago, and, previously, at the Institute of Human Promotion, working for human rights and the welfare of families and communities in Nicaragua.  She has also taught commercial subjects in Nicaragua.

Sister Vera Krass of Jamaica, NY, has served in Tanzania, Kenya and the United States. Her work has including teaching high school in East Africa, working with the homeless in Honolulu, HI, and with senior citizens in California.

Sister Josephine Lucker of El Paso, TX, has spent much of her missionary life in Africa, first as a teacher, then headmistress, at schools in Tanzania, then providing catechetical training throughout East Africa, followed by work with refugees in Zimbabwe and El Salvador.

Sister Suzanne Moore of Burlington, VT, a social worker for more than 50 years, coordinates immigration services at Maryknoll Sisters Center near Ossining, NY, and works with immigrants under the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Life Center at St. Ann’s Parish, Ossining, and other Westchester County locations.

Full biographies of our Sisters are available in the news section of this website, under the subheading, “Jubilees.”

US Ambassador Remembered as “Great and Courageous Man”

Maryknoll Sisters were saddened to learn this week of the passing of a dear friend, US Ambassador Robert White.

Ambassador White, who died on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at the age of 88, was serving as the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in December 1980 when Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, along with Jean Donovan and Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU, members of the Diocese of Cleveland’s mission team, were murdered by National Guardsmen in El Salvador.

The ambassador provided significant logistical and emotional assistance to the Maryknoll Sisters in the days and weeks following the women’s deaths, the Sisters recalled, and Sister Madeline Dorsey, MM, who was living in San Salvador during those dark days, remembers Ambassador White “as a great and courageous man, a man of truth.”

By February 1981, then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Jr. forced White’s resignation from the foreign service because White refused Haig’s demand to use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders.

The Maryknoll Sisters will always remember Robert White with the deepest admiration and respect, and will always have great appreciation for the efforts he took to support fully the communities of both the Sisters and the Salvadoran people whom they served. He was an exceptional public servant and he will be missed. The Maryknoll Sisters hold his family and friends in prayer.

Selma: More Than Movie for Sister Maddie

Dorsey-Madeleine-Selma-1965-slide_1_0Footage and imagery from 1965’s “Bloody Sunday,” the first attempt African-Americans made to march from Selma to Montgomery, AL,  in an effort to pressure President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress to enact a new national voting rights law, are by now iconic, emblazoned on the minds of millions of Americans for the horror and heroism displayed that day.

For Sister Madeline Dorsey, it was a day in which she and another Maryknoll Sister were placed on the front lines of that march, representing the Black doctors who worked with them at Queen of the World Hospital, the nation’s first interracial hospital, located in Kansas City, MO.

Sister Maddie, now 96, still vividly remembers that regular evening meeting with doctors at that hospital, when the doctors urged them to go to Selma and represent them.  She explained that Maryknoll already had plans for two of their Sisters – one from their work among Chinese people in Chicago and another from their ministry among the Japanese in San Francisco – to attend and represent them. “But Sister,” one of the doctors, a “big, burly” fellow, responded, “we are scared! We want you there to represent us!”  Sister Maddie said she’d talk to Mother Superior Coleman, assuring the doctors, “I’m sure she will agree to it.” She did.

That Friday morning, March 7, 1965, Sisters Maddie and Christine Donnelly, along with two Sisters from another congregation, a Presbyterian minister and a few others flew to Selma, arriving there in the afternoon for what was expected to be a weekend event.

She recalls what happened next as if it were yesterday:

“As soon as we arrived, the Jesuit priest who had come from one of their colleges in the Northeast grabbed us three Sisters – the Charity Sister from Kansas City, KS, and Sister John Christine Donnelly and myself, Maryknollers – and put us in the front line. Well I think Father thought that having us there would be further evidence that the Church was with them.”

From their front line position, the Sisters and black men with them were face to face with law enforcement officials. “So we had to face the troopers with their ‘whack-em’ sticks – terrible looking things, almost bigger than a baseball bat – so that if you made any move at all, you got whammed.  They no doubt had guns on them, but what you were facing were these blue eyes filled with hate for the supporters of the Blacks. I have never before or since seen hate like that in eyes – ever! But you could read it, and it just made me mad to see these blue eyes!

Despite the frightening circumstances, Sister Maddie said they didn’t feel afraid. “We all sang. We’re singing, “We shall overcome!” All that. And some of the really beautiful “Negro spirituals. It was very friendly. We had our arms crossed and linked right across, row after row, all like that, and singing away.  And the Negro spirituals were all so beautiful. They’re easy to catch on to. But the “We Shall Overcome” was sung over and over.”

Today, considering her participation that day as just a natural outgrowth of the work they’d been doing in Kansas City for the past 10 years, bringing integration to the schools and hospitals, she is also aware that the job of bringing full equality and social justice for all people to this country is far from over. Sighing, she considers the present-day headlines of police vs. people of color, and commented, “It’s disheartening what’s happening still.”

Sisters Reflect on Past, Embrace Future at Leadership Installation

Presidents transfer gifts - smallSisters Janice McLaughlin and Antoinette Gutzler, the exiting and incoming Presidents of Maryknoll Sisters, each reflected on the past and future of their congregation at a Mass held January 4 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, during which Sister Antoinette, along with Sisters Numeriana Mojado, incoming vice president, Anastasia Lott and Teruko Ito were installed as the new Congregational Leadership Team for Maryknoll Sisters.  The new team, which were elected to serve by representatives of their membership at the congregation’s 17th General Assembly this past September, will serve their community in this capacity for the next six years.

“We Maryknoll Sisters have embraced many dawns and navigated many shifts since that winter day in 1912 when the first three women arrived at Hawthorne to participate in a new missionary venture,” Sister Janice noted in her opening remarks, referencing the congregation’s theme for the coming six years: Embrace the Dawn; Navigate the Shifts. “They had no idea how this venture would unfold…. In our new mission statement, we pledge to be ‘wholemakers,’ to engage our energies in mission by promoting the free flowing of God’s love to those most affected by the critical issues of our time…We are aware that new issues will continue to emerge. They will call us to leave our comfort zones, to nourish wholeness of being in one earth community, wherever that takes us….” (See PDF)

Sister Antoinette reflected that the Star that hovered over the stable in Bethlehem was the same Star that drew Mollie Rogers, their beloved Mother Mary Joseph, into her religious experience at Smith College, when she was drawn to the excitement of the Protestant girls who had just signed the student pledge to go to China.

“As she prayed in the church across the street, she[Mother Mary Joseph] measured her faith and her expression of it by the sight she had just witnessed, and she began to embrace the dawn of this new desire taking root in her heart, the desire for Catholic women to also be a part of the missionary endeavor of the Church. The Star that captivated our first women to Maryknoll is the same Star that we hold close to our hearts as we embrace the dawn of this new moment and navigate the journey of mission today, for we too are stewards of God’s voice.” (See PDF)

During the Mass, the exiting Congregational Leadership Team exchanged gifts of painted stone, symbolic of spiritual gifts they passed on to the new team. One of fire, symbolizing transformation, was bestowed on Sister Antoinette; another, of earth, symbolizing nurturing and grounding, was given to Sister Numeriana; a third, showing water, symbolizing cleansing and healing, was given to Sister Anastasia, and the final one, depicting air, a symbol of discernment, was given to Sister Teruko.

The new leadership team comes to their roles from various levels and modes of experience, talents and abilities.

Sister Antoinette Gutzler, President. Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Queens, Sister Antoinette is a 2001 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with a Ph.D. in systematic theology. She has taught in both Tanzania and Taiwan during her 50 years with Maryknoll. Her recent publications include: “Internalization and Globalization of Women’s Homelessness: A Taiwan Perspective” (2010) and “Navigating the Tradition: A Christian Feminist Perspective on the Power of Creedal Language to Shape the Lives of Women” (2008). She is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), The American Academy of Religion (AAR), and consultant to the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA).

Sister Numeriana Mojado, Vice-President. Born in the Philipppines, Sister Numeriana is a 1998 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with an M.S. in Religious Studies and an  R.N. from Marian School of Nursing, Manila. During her nearly 40 years with Maryknoll Sisters she has ministered among the urban poor in Korea and migrant workers.    She is a member of the Maryknoll Sisters Contemplative Community.

Sister Anastasia Lott, General Secretary. Sister Anastasia is holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of San Diego (1979) and an M. A. in African Studies from the Maryknoll Institute for African Studies of St. Mary’s University.  She has  done pastoral, leadership development and health work in Venezuela, Tanzania and Namibia.  For the past 11 years, she hasI served in the congregation’s Development Department, first as director of planned giving from 2003-2010, then as Director of Development from 2010-2014.

Sister Teruko Ito, Team Member.  Sister Teruko, a native of Japan, is a 1995 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with an M.A. in Religion and Religious Education. She has served in Tanzania, where she taught high school mathematics,  and in Japan, where she did social work for alcoholism-related programs from 1978-1988. She served as a member of the Congregational Orientation Program in Newburgh, NY from 1989-1994.  She was also involved in the Ministry of the Promotion of Women for the Diocese of San Marcos from 1995-2004.

Sister’s Work with the Deaf in Macau Honored

downloadMaryknoll, NY  —  Maryknoll Sister Arlene Trant was honored for her many years of service to the hearing impaired in Macao, China, by the Macau Special Administrative Region at a special ceremony held December 15, 2014 at the Macau Cultural Center. Sister Arlene received the Medical of Merits on Altruism from the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Fernando Chui Sai On.

“When I arrived in Macao in 1982, there were very few services for the Deaf,” Sister Arlene recalled recently in an interview with Ponto Final, a daily newspaper of Macau.  Realizing that the main barrier that the Deaf face is communication, she decided to begin offering sign language classes for hearing people, so they could learn sign language and become a bridge between the hearing and Deaf world.   “I wanted to create conditions that would bring understanding and friendship between those who could hear and those who could not,” she explained.   So with the help of a small group of Deaf people she started the first sign language class in Macau.  From that first class was born the volunteer group called “Macau Deaf and Hearing Association”, which organized activities and services for the Deaf.

In 1986 the Macau Social Welfare Department approached Sr. Arlene and asked her to begin a sheltered workshop for the Deaf and physically handicapped.  This workshop was jointly sponsored by the Macau government and the Diocese of Macau.  In addition to vocational training and job placement, this center offered social services and adult education for the Deaf, as well as, language training for pre-school Deaf children, and audiological services.   From those modest beginnings, has developed a much enriched network of services for the hearing impaired.

She also does pastoral outreach to the Deaf.  Together with a group of three Deaf and five hearing Catholics they interpret Sunday Mass for the Deaf at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Macau. This group meets weekly not only to prepare the Sunday Mass readings, but also to plan retreats, and RCIA classes, etc., so that Macau Deaf can also “hear” the Good News of God’s Love.

Photo used with permission of Cláudia Aranda/Ponto Final

New Leadership Team to Be Installed January 4

1536051419370145081Maryknoll, NY –  Maryknoll Sisters will formally install its new leadership team at a Mass to be held Sunday, January 4, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. in the Main Chapel at Maryknoll Sisters Center, 10 Pinesbridge Road, Ossining, NY.

The new members of the Congregational Leadership Team, who will serve on the team from 2015-2021, include:

Sister Antoinette Gutzler, President. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Sister Antoinette is a 2001 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with a Ph.D. in systematic theology. She has taught in both Tanzania and Taiwan during her 50 years with Maryknoll. Her recent publications include: “Internalization and Globalization of Women’s Homelessness: A Taiwan Perspective” (2010) and “Navigating the Tradition: A Christian Feminist Perspective on the Power of Creedal Language to Shape the Lives of Women” (2008). She is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), The American Academy of Religion (AAR), consultant to the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA), and a Standing Committee member of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superior in Taiwan.

Sister Numeriana Mojado, Vice-President. Born in the Philipppines, Sister Numeriana is a 1998 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with an M.S. in Religious Studies and an  R.N. from Far Eastern University, Manila. During her nearly 40 years with Maryknoll Sisters she has ministered among the urban poor in Korea, served on the Board of Magdalena House, a residence for women escaping prostitution, and on the Advisory Committee for Wellspring of Peace, a counseling center for sexual  abuse.

Sister Anastasia Lott, Member. Born in Landstuhl, Germany, while her father was stationed there with the U.S. Air Force, Sister Anastasia is a 1997 graduate of the Maryknoll Institute for African Studies, Nairobi, East Africa, with an M.A. in African Studies, and has served in Venezuela, Tanzania and Namibia. For the past 11 years, she has been in management in the congregation’s Development Department, serving first as director of planned giving from 2003-2010, then as Director of Development from 2010-2014.

Sister Teruko Ito, Member.  Sister Teruko, a native of Japan, is a 1995 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, with an M.A. in Religion and Religious Education. She has served in Tanzania, where she taught high school mathematics,  and Japan, where she did social work for alcoholism-related programs from 1978-1988. She was also involved in the Ministry of the Promotion of Women for the Diocese of San Marcos from 1995-2004.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to world mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 22 countries around the world, they now number 454 members.

Caption:  New Maryknoll Sisters Leadership Team. Left to right, Sisters Teruko Ito, Anastasia Lott, Antoinette Gutzler, President, and Numeriana Mojado, Vice President.  Photo Credit: Sister Shirley King, MM.


El Salvador Martyrs Still Have Lessons to Teach

IMG_0423_0Milwaukee, WI —  Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, along with Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan, still hold sway and influence over the lives of young people, and lessons to teach them about a life lived sacrificially for others.

About 40 students gathered at Marquette University on December 2, 2014, for “Bearing Witness to Truth: Remembering the Martyrs of El Salvador,” a prayer service honoring the four women, slain in the course of working among the poor in war-torn El Salvador in 1980. The service was the final event of “Remembering the Martyrs of the University of Central America,” a semester-long commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the University of Central America martyrs.

“The most riveting part of the service came after [Sister] Ita Ford’s letter to her niece was read,” said Terry Miller, director of the University’s Office of International Education, who offered the opening prayer at the gathering. “There were individual reflections by all attending, represented by picking up river stones and placing them in a communal bowl.” The reflections centered around the recent pilgrimage to El Salvador from November 12-17, 2014, by 34 members of the University faculty, staff and students; the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, held November 15-17, 2014, in Washington, DC, (13 students and staff attended): and the School of the Americas Watch protest, held November 21-23 at Fort Benning, GA (10 students and staff), as well as five Maryknoll Sisters.

The pilgrimage included a stop at Maryknoll’s parish in San Ramon, where the delegation heard testimony from the Christina Base Community members, where they acknowledged the importance of Maryknoll Fathers/Brothers, Sisters and Lay missioners in a shared facilitation of the parish fostering a robust Christian Base Community (CBC) infrastructure. On the wall of the CBC is a vibrant wall mural of the four Churchwomen who are still fondly remembered for their lasting legacy and commitment to the economically poor of El Salvador.

Holiday Brunch and Boutique in Monrovia on Nov. 9

Boutique-2011-4 2_0Monrovia, CA —  Maryknoll Sisters will hold a holiday brunch, bake sale and boutique on Sunday, November 9, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  at their residence, 340 Norumbega  Drive, Monrovia, CA.

The brunch costs $15 per adult, $7 per child under 12 and features eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, sausage links, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh carved turkey and ham,  several salads (green, three-bean and others) stuffing, dinner rolls, and a selection of desserts, including pumpkin pie.Hello – The food on the

Items for sale at the boutique (admission: free)  will include handmade crafts, fruit preserves and assorted home baked goods.  A handmade rose afghan, crafted by the Sisters, will be raffled and a drawing,  featuring a $1000 grand prize, will also be held.

For more information on the brunch, boutique and bake sale, call 626-358-1825.

“Trailblazers in Habits” to Have Westchester Premiere Nov. 14

trailblazers poster - pic & title only_0Trailblazers in Habits, the new documentary about the pioneer work of Maryknoll Sisters, the first U.S.-based congregation of Catholic women religious dedicated to foreign mission, will have its Westchester premiere showing on Friday, November 14, 2014, at 7 p.m. at the Ossining Public Library, 53 Croton Avenue, Ossining, NY.  Admission is free. Light refreshments will follow.

Produced by award-winning filmmaker Nancy Tong, the film 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. The first U.S.-based congregation of Roman Catholic women religious dedicated to foreign mission, Maryknoll Sisters was founded in Ossining in 1912.

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 call 866-662-9900 or visit

Maryknoll Sisters President Becomes A Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania

McLaughlin2_PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, PA – When Sister Janice McLaughlin, MM, president of Maryknoll Sisters, was honored by the Governor of Pennsylvania, becoming a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania at a special ceremony held October 15, 2014, at his residence in Harrisburg, thoughts of her youth in Pittsburgh, and the trail of her life, founded on principles learned as a child, were uppermost in her thoughts.

“I have worked on the African continent for most of my adult life – almost 40 years – and have visited at least a dozen countries on all five continents in the past six years as President of the Maryknoll Sisters. Although I have this vast international experience – Pittsburgh will always be my home. It has shaped me and formed my vision of a world where no one is hungry, homeless or jobless and where all have enough,” Sister Janice told Governor Tom Corbett, his wife, Susan Manbeck Corbett, the eight other women being honored that day, and others in attendance. With Michele Ridge, president of the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania, looking on, Pennsylvania’s First Lady (at far right in photo) presented the award medal to Sister Janice (center).

“Pittsburgh has undergone a radical transformation from the smoky steel capital of my childhood to the cultural, medical and educational center that it has become today but its ethnic diversity and working class pride have endured. The values instilled in me then continue to guide and excite me many years later,” she remarked.

“My parents, Paul McLaughlin and Mary Louise Schaub, taught me and my sister Mary Ellen to treat all people as equals – from a street cleaner to the President,” Sister Janice, who attended St. Lawrence O’Toole Church and School for 12 years. “This has served me well as I have worked in refugee camps, poor townships and in the office of the President of Zimbabwe. As you heard, I also spent some time in prison in Rhodesia, where I made friends with my guards as well as with the other prisoners.

“This was a lesson I learned early in life – to respect all people and treat them the same. It was no wonder that I became involved in the civil rights movement here at home and went on to support liberation from colonial rule in Southern Africa.

“The Dominican Sisters from Columbus, Ohio, now Dominican Sisters of Peace, who taught me for 13 years, instilled in me a strong sense of justice and concern for the weak and vulnerable in society. In high school, we helped out several afternoons a week at the home for the elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor that was directly across from our school. I learned then that poverty and inequality were right in my own backyard.

“The Thomas Merton Center (that nominated me for this award) was also right in my own backyard (on Penn Avenue). The staff connected with me when I was deported from Rhodesia in 1977 and we have remained kindred spirits ever since – together with the Association of Pittsburgh Priests. They are the missionaries here at home, bringing the message of peace, justice and equality for all to the people of Pittsburgh, while I carry the message to the African continent as a Maryknoll Sister.

“Sometimes this message can be unsettling and make people uncomfortable. When I supported majority rule in Southern Africa, it made the government of Ian Smith so uncomfortable that they deported me – back to Pittsburgh.

“When I was home again, I lobbied against steel companies in Pittsburgh that were violating international sanctions against Rhodesia by doing business there. I began to get hate mail and threatening phone messages. One day my mother looked at me and said, “You better go back to Africa. When you speak out against injustice there, you are a hero. When you speak out against injustice here, you are just a troublemaker!” A mother’s wisdom spoke deep truth.

“Here in the United States, we see so many frightening and depressing images of Africa. The media captures stories and photos of the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, the kidnapping of school girls in northern Nigeria, and the hijacking of freighters by pirates off the coast of Somalia. These tragedies make headlines but are only a small sliver of the reality.

“There is another face of Africa that we rarely see – a dynamic continent of creative and resilient people who are full of faith in God and hope in the future,” she noted. “They are empowered by a belief in ‘ubuntu,’ a philosophy of life that holds that all people are connected with one another and that your destiny is related to mine. Relationships and a sense of family are at the heart of their joy and their ability to overcome problems.

“I lived through many changes on the African continent – from the oppression of colonialism, through liberation wars that have left behind a legacy of violence, to the heady days of independence when it seemed that anything was possible. Today the continent struggles to find a new identity that honors the past while embracing a better future for all.

“The Shona people of Zimbabwe have many names for God. My favorite is Chipindikure – The One Who Turns Things Upside Down.  It sums up my experience. This transformation, and sometimes uncomfortable uprooting from the familiar, has been the essence of my life. I think I have been able to embrace many changes because I am rooted in the love of family, friends and my Maryknoll community. Maryknoll opened the doors of the world to me – but no matter how far I have wandered, I knew I could always come home to Pittsburgh and find a loving welcome.

“I accept this award on behalf of all the wonderful people who have loved me, formed me and encouraged me – in Pittsburgh, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and around the world. Thank you.”

Since its establishment in 1949, the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania has annually honored outstanding women for extraordinary service and contributions to the Commonwealth. Only a few such women are named by the Governor each year. Almost 500 women have been honored since the award was first bestowed. Their ranks include women of high achievement in education, science, law, medicine, business, public service, philanthropy, humanities and the arts.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Sister Janice has been president of Maryknoll Sisters since 2008. Prior to her presidency, she spent nearly 40 years living and working as a missioner in Africa.

During her first posting in Kenya in 1969 as the communications coordinator for the Catholic Church there, she took on the training of journalists and broadcasters, and helped spread the Gospel through mass media.  For her second assignment, she was sent in 1977 to Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), where she was press secretary of the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, again working in the areas of mass media, education and advocacy.  As the political situation in Rhodesia deteriorated, Sister Janice’s straightforward reports documenting war crimes in the government of Ian Smith, led to her arrest, imprisonment and deportation.  After deportation, Sister Janice worked with the Washington Office on Africa, a church-based lobby group that helped to educate the American public and Congress about African affairs.  She became project officer, in 1979, for a new initiative created by a consortium of Catholic donors to assist refugees from the war in Rhodesia.  Based in Mozambique for two years, she raised funds to aid Zimbabwean refugees and taught journalism in the schools in the camps that were set up by the liberation movements.

In 1980, Sister Janice returned to an independent Zimbabwe at the request of the new government to work as an education consultant to the President’s Office.  With great perseverance, she helped to build nine schools for former refugees and war veterans, and developed a new system of education linking academic subjects with technical training.  After seven years in New York as communications coordinator for the Maryknoll Sisters, she returned to Zimbabwe to become training coordinator for Silveira House, a leadership training and education center run by Jesuits for the poor and marginalized.  A lifelong advocate for the education of young girls, she set up a scholarship fund to help girls attend school.  She continued to live in Zimbabwe until 2009.

Sister Janice holds a B.A. in theology, anthropology and sociology from Marquette University, and a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2010, Marquette honored Sister Janice with the honorary degree of Doctor of Religious Studies.

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.