Sister Marie Rosso received the Oahu Unsung Hero Award in 1997 “In appreciation of many years of exceptional service dedicated to safety and freedom for battered women of Oahu.”
Sister Marie Rosso was born in Philadelphia, PA and joined Maryknoll in 1948. After graduating from Maryknoll Teachers College, her first teaching assignments were in Chinatown, NY and the South Bronx. She arrived in Hawaii in 1960 and taught in Kalihi. She also served in the remote atoll of Likiep in the Marshall Islands as teacher, Principal and head of a boarding school. Altogether she spent twenty-two years in teaching, mostly in junior high level. “Sharing in so many lives—students, parents, co-workers was a great blessing.”
She served two terms as Regional Coordinator for the Maryknoll Sisters in the Central Pacific, as well as coordinating personnel services for employees at the Sisters Center in New York and working in the Social Concerns Office. In Honolulu she worked in a variety of outreach programs in low-income housing.
Since 1986 Sister Marie’s focus has been on the needs of women. She is one of the founding members of three organizations: Women’s Concerns Committee, Interfaith Network Against Domestic Violence and Walking with Women. The issue of domestic violence was a primary concern and the three groups collaborated to provide educational workshops, presentations and worship services for clergy and church goers. She was involved with the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women for legislative advocacy, and contributed to a year long study for violence prevention education in schools pre-K to 12. She volunteered with S.O.S., Sisters Offering Support, a Hawaii based non-profit organization providing prostitution intervention through education and awareness and support for women exiting the sex industry.
In 2006 Sister Marie joined the Maryknoll Sisters Retirement community in Monrovia, CA.