Sister Arlene Trant
Current Ministry Location-Monrovia, CA
Arlene Trant was born July 16, 1946 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Marjorie (Hutten) Trant and James Trant. She had two sisters: her twin sister, Darlene, and Karen. Arlene grew up in Chicago, IL until she was 12 when she and her family moved to San Jose, California where she graduated from Andrew P Hill High School, San Jose, CA in 1964. In 1968 she earned a Bachelor of Arts-Speech Correction from San Jose State University, San Jose, CA. After receiving her degree and another year to obtain her teaching credential, Arlene joined the Peace Corps and served in the West Indies for two years.
While she enjoyed living and working in another culture, Arlene knew something was missing in her life. The call to religious life that she felt in her heart continued to grow until January 16, 1972 when she joined the Maryknoll Sisters at their novitiate in St. Louis, MO.
In 1973 Arlene received her first overseas mission assignment to the Hong Kong/Macau Region. She professed First Vows December 8, 1974 in Hong Kong/Macau and Final Vows June 22, 1980 also in Hong Kong/Macau. Her first year was spent in studying the Cantonese Language. After that, Sister Arlene joined the staff of the Hong Kong School of the Deaf and taught high school seniors.
In 1977 Sister Arlene returned to Maryknoll, N.Y. for her reflection year, the year of preparation before making Final Vows. In 1980 in the presence of her parents and sisters as well as her Maryknoll Sisters, Sister Arlene professed her Final Vows in Hong Kong.
In 1983 Sister Arlene and two other Maryknoll Sisters were assigned to Macau responding to the bishop’s request for religious to serve new immigrants arriving from China. While working at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, Sister Arlene began working with the deaf. As this ministry grew Sister Arlene was asked by the Macau Social Service Department to start a Center for the Disabled. The main work of the Center was a sheltered workshop where people with a variety of disabilities were able to find employment. The Center also provided adult education, audio logical services as well as social and recreational activities. On weekends, Sister Arlene was involved in pastoral work with the deaf. The weekly signed Masses soon grew into Bible study and an RCIA program for the deaf.
From 1991 to 1994, Sister Arlene returned to the States where she traveled in the Western U.S. sharing her mission experience in schools and churches. Sister Arlene returned to Macau and continued her pastoral and educational ministry with the deaf. Sister Arlene said of her ministry with the deaf: “The joy, love and friendship they extended to me and to each other showed clearly that hands (sign language) spoke louder than spoken words.”
In 1998 Sister Arlene was assigned to Guatemala where she lived in a very poor barrio just outside of Guatemala City called Mezquital. As Sister Arlene made friends she learned of the sufferings of her neighbors who had come to the city from many upcountry provinces where they had experienced deep personal tragedies and witnessed genocide in the civil war in that country. During the week Sister Arlene worked in a woman’s cooperative. On Sundays Sister Arlene went to the Cathedral in Guatemala City where together with the deaf Catholics she founded the Guatemala Deaf Catholic Community, which not only interpreted Sunday Masses, but had weekly Bible study in sign language and also outreached to other deaf people in the rural areas of Guatemala. This dynamic group continued to flourish even after Sister Arlene left Guatemala in 2004.
Sister Arlene was assigned to the States, from 2004 to 2008, to the Maryknoll Sisters Vocation Ministry Team based on the West Coast. In this ministry Sister Arlene enjoyed the many opportunities to share her experiences in mission as well as accompany young women searching out their own paths.
Sister Arlene was again assigned to Macau, China in 2009, and was once again deeply involved in the ministry. Sister Arlene loved facilitating sign language in Masses with deaf Catholics; teaching sign to hearing priests and parishioners who wished to collaborate in this ministry, as well as others in Macau interested in learning to sign. Quite a few deaf who were not baptized came to the Sunday Masses. The deaf participated in other ways in the liturgies; four were able to be readers. Something new was inaugurated with the first Saturday night Mass just for the deaf. Outreach to the young who were deaf was planned with a barbeque. Sister Arlene also taught oral English, 1st – 4th grades, once a week to more than 300 little ones in a local Catholic grade school.
In 2017, Sister Arlene was assigned to the States and to the Promotion Department at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY for a four year term. In 2021 she was assigned as coordinator of the Sisters retirement home in Monrovia, CA.