“My first years in Kowak, Tanzania brought me close to the Luo people whom I came to love and who loved me in turn, referring to me as ‘Nyar Jaluo’ the daughter of the Luos.”
Sister Cecilia LeBlanc joined Maryknoll from St. Patrick’s Parish, Roxbury, MA in 1943. Her first assignment was to feed the hungry at the Maryknoll Fathers seminary, Mountain View, CA! In 1948 she went to Monrovia, CA where the Maryknoll Sisters administered a tuberculosis sanitarium, opened originally for the Japanese people who had been in concentration camps during WWII. While she worked in dietetics, and visited patients, she had the unique blessing of living with the Maryknoll Sisters Foundress, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, and almost every evening she would drop in for a chat with her. On days off she was often included in car excursions with her—“I feel I came to know our Foundress in a very special way.”
In 1957, Sister Cecilia received an assignment to Africa where she spent thirteen years in Tanzania and Zambia. In Kowak she remembers a wood-burning cast iron stove in the kitchen which had Modern Mistress written across the oven door. Even while studying the Luo language she began visiting villages. Her ministries included catechetical work, teaching and school administration. In Isango Middle School she not only taught but “mothered” many of the young students. Away from their families, they experienced loneliness in a boarding school with many tribes. In Zambia she taught in Isoka Boys’ Secondary School.
Joining the Eastern U.S. Region in 1975, Sister Cecilia began thirteen years of teaching junior and senior high school classes in Stratford and Laconia, NH. She is presently a member of the Chi Rho Community at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.