“In the face of serious destruction of our land, water and air, the story of the earth challenges us to bring new justice and imagination to our role within creation.”
Sister Margarita Jamias was born in Masinloc, Zambales, Philippines.She graduated from Maryknoll College, Quezon City, in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. In 1960 she graduated with an M.A. in Education from the Ateneo University, Quezon City. 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.
From 1956-1960, Sister Margarita taught at the Maryknoll Grade School in Manila. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in NY in 1960 and was professed in Topsfield, MA in 1963. She made her final vows in Maryknoll College, Quezon City in 1969.
She was assigned to the Philippine Region in 1964 where she taught at the Maryknoll Grade School, Quezon City (1964-1965), and St. John the Baptist School in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental (1965-1966). 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 she went 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. She served in 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 1983-1988, 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, Sister Margarita returned to the Philippines where she served as Resource Person and JPIC Advocate of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary in Baguio City. “This allurement opened up for me a deep relationship with Earth and the cosmos, and our interconnectedness with ALL-that-Is”, she said. We provided a “Cosmic Journey”, a guided, scientific, meditative reflection from the Primal Fireball 13.8 billion years ago to the emergence of religious traditions. We offered seminars and retreats, integrated with rituals and Art as meditation. Some topics covered were New Cosmology, Climate Change, Ecological Solid Waste Management, Ecofeminism.
As JPIC Advocate, Sr. Margarita worked with Peoples’ Organizations, Non-governmental and Church groups that promoted and fostered Earth-human right relationships. She was Co-convenor 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: 2002-2004, 2004-2006 and 2008-2010. She was a member of the Association of Women in Theology, Baguio-Benguet Chapter.
She was Contact Person of the Maryknoll Sisters Philippine Convocation fro 2002-2013; and member of the Miriam College Board of Trustees, Quezon City from 2011-2013.
Sister Margarita received two awards:
- The Amazing Alumni Achiever Award from the Maryknoll/Miriam Alumni Association on November 19, 2005, Quezon City
- The Outstanding Woman Award for leadership in “Ecological Preservation”, given by the City of Baguio on March 8, 2010 at the Baguio Convention Center, Baguio City.
Maryknoll Sisters Award:
- In 2009, the City of Baguio celebrated its Centennial as a Chartered City. The City awarded the “Baguio Builders Award” to institutions, organizations, and individuals who contributed in a significant way in the building of the City. The Maryknoll Sisters were awarded this prestigious distinction for their work in the education of youth. Margarita received the award in the name of the Maryknoll Sisters.
In 2013 Margarita was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center 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, Biodiversity, etc.; continuing her advocacy work on Environment and concrete actions we can take.