“The different twists and turns I’ve taken, the places I’ve ended up in, the way one thing leads to another, God has definitely been the guiding force.”
Born in New Orleans, Sister Genie Lorio entered Maryknoll in 1960 from Baton Rouge, after a year at Louisiana State University. She completed studies at Mary Rogers College and Kansas State University with a B.S. in home economics and adult education. Then she was assigned to Guatemala.
It was 1969, and four days after her arrival, a presidential candidate was machine-gunned to death. “That was a jolt, I was not prepared for the violence and the militarization.”
In the diocese of Huehuetenango, she coordinated programs for indigenous wives of leaders after convincing their husbands that women, too, needed to learn to read and write. In turn these women taught other women good practices in health, child care and nutrition. Sister Genie also was a member of a leadership training team for civil, social and economic responsibility.
Sister Genie then spent a year in Mexico City, accompanying basic ecclesial communities before returning to San Marcos, Guatemala, where the bishop named her and another Maryknoll Sister as co-administrators of the parish of San Antonio Sacatepequez.
Fostering broad participation, Sister Genie taught natural medicine to the health promoters who were their students and learned local herbs and cures from them. As their team grew, they traveled throughout the diocese in a Women’s Pastoral Ministry that touched the lives of 2,500 women during nine years.
In 1994, Sister Genie studied myotherapy at the Bonnie Prudden School for Physical Fitness & Myotherapy in Tucson, AZ, before receiving her certification. After working for a year in New York, she became a licensed practitioner. Her skills relieve pain for many Maryknoll Sisters who live in New York.
Sister Genie has recently completed a three-year term as co-coordinator of the Rogers Community at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. The next stage in Sister Genie’s mission life will bring her to the eastern United States.