Sister Marie May

Sister Marie May
Current Mission Location – Maryknoll Sisters Center- Maryknoll, NY

Marie May was born November 26, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY to Rose M. (Glossa) May and Joseph F. May. She had 1 sister, Catherine and 3 brothers: Francis, Joseph and Raymond. Marie graduated from St. Angela Hall High School, Brooklyn in 1946. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from St. Joseph’s College for Women in Brooklyn in 1950.

Marie entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation at the Sisters Center in NY September 6, 1950. She professed First Vows March 7, 1953 at the Center and Final Vows March 7, 1959 in Hawaii.

She received her first mission assignment to Hawaii in 1953 where she taught in high school and did social work with the Catholic Social Services agency, including family counseling, in the rural areas of Oahu until 1974. During this time, she also earned an M.A. in Biology from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, CA in 1961and an M.A. in Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

In 1974, Sister Marie was assigned to Yap in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Yap has four major islands with a total land size of about 38 square miles, a dot in the Pacific, home to Maryknoll Sisters since 1953. After language study, Sister Marie had a social-pastoral ministry and was a youth coordinator. In this ministry, she had a Yapese friend, Tim Moon, whom she met while he was studying at the University of Hawaii, and Tim became her language mentor and worked with her to reach restless youth on the Yap islands. Sister Marie helped organize a successful agricultural cooperative which provided a new vision for Yapese youth.

Yap experienced a transition from subsistence to a money economy and changed in attitudes toward education and work. Sister Marie helped young adults adjust to changing circumstances as they prepared to start their own families. Because of deep friendships with the Yapese over more than three decades, Sister Marie was very much at home in her island mission.

Returning to Maryknoll, NY in early 2011, Marie moved to the congregation’s convent in Monrovia, CA, until December 2014. In January 2015 she returned to the Center in NY where she is in the Sisters Home Care Nursing facility.