Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY
Sister Margarita was born in Masinloc, Zambales, Philippines on April 7th, 1936 to Francisca (Edillor) Jamias and Jose Jamias; she had three sisters and one brother S In 1952, she graduated from Tabaco High School and then attended Maryknoll College, Quezon City, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
From 1956-1960, Sister Margarita taught at the Maryknoll Grade School in Manila. In 1960, she graduated with a Master of Arts in Education from the Ateneo University, Quezon City.
Sister Margarita entered the Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on September 2nd, 1960 and transferred to the Novitiate in Topsfield, MA. She pronounced First Vows on June 24th, 1963 in Topsfield, MA and Final Vows December 28th, 1969 in Maryknoll College, Quezon City, Philippines.
In 1983, she earned an M.A. in Theological Studies at the Maryknoll School of Theology, Maryknoll, NY; and in 1998 an M.A. in Applied Theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.
She was then assigned to the Philippine Region in 1964 to teach. From 1964-1965, she taught at the Maryknoll Grade School in Quezon City, and from 1965-1966 at St. John the Baptist School in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. In addition, from 1966-1970 she was Principal of La Salette Elementary School, Santiago, Isabela.
In 1970, she was assigned to Guatemala where she taught at Colegio Monte Maria until 1974.
In 1974, Sister Margarita was assigned to Nicaragua. From 1974-1978, she was involved in Community Development, Pastoral Ministry (BEC), and Ministry with Women in Leon and Tola. Rescuing young girls from a brothel in Tola who were trafficked was a collaborative effort of the BEC members, the Parish priest and the Sisters. During some occasions when the Pastor was away, Margarita was called on to celebrate the Liturgy of Christian Burial.
Over the years, Sister Margarita has generously shared her talents in serving Maryknoll in the U.S. interspersed with her foreign assignments. She served on the World Awareness/Mission Education/Promotion Teams in Eastern and Western U.S. She also worked as Business Administrator of the Mission Institute, and Coordinator of Mission Projects Funding.
In 1983, she was back in Leon, Nicaragua where she accompanied the people in pastoral work, empowerment of women, and started the New-Haven-Leon Sister City project which still continues today. During the Contra War in Nicaragua the young men were called to military duties. Margarita joined the women in harvesting cotton, the main export of Leon, as part of her accompaniment of the people. She was also a member of the Regional Governing Board of the Maryknoll Sisters.
From 1995-1997, Sister Margarita went to Condega where she worked with the Parish Pastoral Team, and gave courses on Women’s Empowerment. She organized livelihood projects with the women in Condega and the outlying villages. She was again a member of the Nicaragua-Panama Regional Coordinating Team.
In 2001, she returned to the Philippines toserveas Resource Person and JPIC Advocate of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary in Baguio City. As JPIC Advocate, Sister Margarita worked with Peoples’ Organizations, Non-governmental and Church groups that promoted and fostered Earth-human right relationships. She was Co-convener of the “Save the Abra River Movement” in Baguio City.
Sister Margarita was Chairperson of the Association of Women Religious of Baguio-Benguet for three terms. She was also a member of the Association of Women in Theology, Baguio-Benguet Chapter.
In addition, she received two awards:
- The Amazing Alumni Achiever Award from the Maryknoll/Miriam Alumni Association on November 19th, 2005, Quezon City
- The Outstanding Woman Award for leadership in “Ecological Preservation”, given by the City of Baguio on March 8th, 2010 at the Baguio Convention Center, Baguio City.
In 2013, Sister Margarita was assigned to the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY as Mailroom Supervisor. She is a member of the Education Committee and the Environment Committee facilitating its educational aspect showing DVDs on the “Journey of the Universe”, Climate Change, and Biodiversity. Also she is continuing her advocacy work on environment and concrete actions we can take.