Sister Lucia’s parents were devout Buddhists—“they taught me how to be compassionate toward others by doing selfless acts.” While studying at Seoul’s Women’s Medical College, she became an atheist. After graduation, Divine Providence led her to a hospital in Pusan run by Presbyterian missionaries from Australia. The hospital administrator made a big impact on Lucia. “Her life and every action were rooted deeply in her love for Koreans and God. She showed me a new image of a doctor that I had never seen. I had met my life’s compass, Doctor Helen MacKenzie.”
In the United States she did a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee. Again, God placed people in her life who would change her forever. What impressed her about Catholicism was God’s love for each person. Her baptism took her family by surprise and she stunned them a second time by joining the Maryknoll Sisters in 1965. She had heard of their work in Korea and been impressed by one of the Sisters she met in Milwaukee.
After her novitiate in the Philippines, Sister Lucia was assigned to Kenya in1968 and worked in Kinango and Kisii. In the arid desert of Bura-Tana she was the only doctor for a population of 22,000. Respect for others together with a keen sense of humor was the cornerstone of Sister Lucia’s approach. “Mission is sharing life, being in solidarity with those who are badly off.”
Sister Lucia spent seven years in Jilin Province, China treating patients and teaching medical English. In Korea she volunteered at a diocesan clinic for the poor, homeless, alcoholics, victims of domestic violence. In 2008, she joined the retirement community in Monrovia, CA, where she lived for seven years.
Currently, Sister Lucia is part of the Eden Community at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.