Sister Maria Rieckelman

“I can only describe myself as ‘Itinerant Minister, responding to needs and invitations in more than thirty countries, to Maryknoll missions and beyond to many other missionary Communities. All these journeys have brought rich blessings from each group’.”

mrieckelman_lgBorn in Cincinnati, Ohio, the fifth child of parents who were Irish, English and German descent—third generation Americans, Sister Maria Rieckelman entered Maryknoll in 1945 at the end of WWII.

For all her years in Maryknoll beyond Novitiate orientation, Sister Maria has been involved in some form of the healing ministry. Her first fifteen years as a medical doctor were in Korea and Hong Kong. After some years in Leadership at Maryknoll, NY, she specialized in cross-cultural psychiatry at the University of Hawaii, Dept. of Psychiatry. Her purpose at that time was to return to either Korea or Hong Kong and establish mental health services, as neither place had any up to that point. However, in the 1970’s Maryknoll and other mission Communities following Vatican II had other needs which she was asked to fill. For this reason much of her ministry, partnering with Father Jack Sullivan, M.M., has focused on helping groups and individuals. (photo: Maria and Jack in a workshop)

They assisted women and men in mission ministering in situations of violence and conflict, seeking peace and justice. They helped people adapt to the chaos of change; to deal with conflict and diversity creatively; to live inclusively in a multi-cultural world; to live well with transitions in their careers and life journeys and face realistically the special challenges of aging and health. When giving retreats, they focused on psycho-spiritual integration. Sister Maria reflects, “I have become more and more grateful for the rich opportunity I have had to engage and learn from the people of many cultures throughout our world.”

Sister Maria is now an active resident of the Eden Community at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.

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