Sister Carolyn White

Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY

Carolyn White was born December 6, 1941 in Richmond, VA, to Willa (Robinson) White and Harold A. White. She had 2 sisters: Linda & Robin and one brother: Harold. Carolyn graduated from Avon Lake High School, Avon Lake, OH in 1960.

Carolyn entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation October 17, 1961 at the novitiate in Valley Park, MO. She professed First Vows June 27, 1964 at Valley Park and Final Vows May 16, 1970 at the Center in NY. After her novitiate, Carolyn was a full time student in Rogers College at the Center from 1961–’65 and in 1965 gave Congregational Service in the Sponsor Office of the Development Department at the Center until 1970.

In 1970, Carolyn was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Contemplative Community. In 1976, She received her first overseas mission assignment to the Central Pacific. In 1977 she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts from the State University of New York.

From 1977 to 1981, Sister Carolyn served as a teacher and coordinator at Assumption Elementary School on the island of Majuro in the Marshall Islands. Majuro is the district center of the Marshall Islands and boasts an international airport that’s the size of the entire width of the island.

From 1982 to 1986, Sister Carolyn took courses in special education and taught emotionally disturbed children in Honolulu, Hawaii. Then she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York to spend four years sharing her talents in the Treasury Department, returning to the Marshall Islands in 1991 to work in the “outer islands” of the island nation.

Important to any understanding of life in the Marshallese Outer Islands is that they are small and scattered. The population of the Marshalls is 56,000, scattered over 32 atolls, which is 70 square miles of land amidst 772,000 square miles of ocean. Each atoll is the coral growth atop an underwater volcano.

Sister Carolyn was one of two Maryknoll Sisters who have visited five of the atolls on a rotating basis. These islands are smaller and less populated, and a priest visits only a few times a year. Their ministries were primarily educational with an emphasis on Christian education and the development of teaching skills among Marshallese teachers.

Sister Carolyn also has helped promote the raising of chickens and native foods and taught budgeting, cooking and emergency medical care. Few in the Marshall Islands have electricity except for some islands that now have generators and solar power.

In 2011, Sister Carolyn was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY where she serves in various positions and offices.