After many years of service in Asia, Sister Jean Maloney returned to the United States to become the co-director of our orientation program for new members. In late 2009, she returned to South Korea and the land where she began in mission more than 50 years ago.
After earning her R.N. in St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, Syracuse, N.Y. in 1950, Sister Jean Maloney entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation. After completing her novitiate she was assigned to Pusan, Korea where she worked part time at the Maryknoll Sisters Clinic as a nurse in the Pediatric outpatient clinic giving injections, treating the children, as well as giving health education to their mothers.
After three years in Pusan, Sister Jean was assigned to a new work in the rural area of Jeong Pyong, Chung Chon Puk Do caring for the poor and sick. Three years later Sr. Jean returned to Pusan assigned as supervisor of the Pediatric Clinic where the dedicated staff cared for over 2,000 patients each day.
In 1963, Sister Jean was assigned to Kyong Ki Do, Kang Hwa Island with another Sister to establish medical work to assist over 120,000 people who had few medical facilities. They began Christ the King Clinic. They also began an out-reach into other islands and areas providing health care, education and immunization of the children for disease prevention. In the parish of Christ the King they were involved in catechetical work, home visiting as well as ministering to young workers, for whom, with the Pastor, they established the Young Christian Workers (YCW) on the island.
Sister Jean was there for 10 years (1963-73) as administrator and director of the Clinic. The Sisters were then requested to begin a community of women who would dedicate their lives to serve the needs of the workers. They answered this call and went to Kari Bong Dong in Seoul. Here they gathered a small group of women who lived in community sharing their lives and resources, praying, working and studying.
Sister Jean also worked in a small clinic to help support this work. This group was joined by the Prado Sisters who continued their formation. Sister Jean was at the same time Vice President of the Korean Sisters’ Association and member of the Executive Committee of Industrial Pastoral Commission of the Seoul Diocese.
Returning to the U.S. Sister Jean served as Orientation Team member of the Congregation from 1976-1979 after which she returned to Korea. From 1981-1985 she worked at the Maryknoll Hospital in the Natural Family Planning Clinic, as well as with YCW members.
In 1985, Sister Jean worked in Seoul to assist with AMOR( Asia, Oceania Meeting of Religious) which was to be held in Seoul. In preparing the exposure program for the participants they visited a “red light” district where they had a meal with several women and listened to their stories. Sister Jean saw the need for the Church to work with these women who had suffered so much and this was how Magdalena House was established in 1985. It became a shelter for women who were trying to escape prostitution and other disenfranchised women. After 13 years, this work was turned over to her colleague and co-founder, Ms.Consecrata Lee, as director and administrator with a Board of Directors, including Sister Jean and another Maryknoll Sister. This work continues to flourish with a dedicated staff and residents.
In 1997, Sister Jean earned her BS in Psychology/Sociology from Maryland University and in 2000 her MA in Creation Spirituality from Naropa University/Oakland Campus. She also celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Maryknoll Sister that same year. In 2007 Sister Jean returned to the United States to mentor women who are on their way to becoming the newest Maryknoll Sisters.
Sister Jean is writing the history of the Maryknoll Sisters in Korea 1924 to 2012. She also has a Bible class; works part time with a group giving Partnership workshops for leadership training, as well as connection with the Magdalena communities for women which she cofounded in 1985.