Sister Marilu Limgenco

mlimgencoSister Marilu Limgenco

Current Ministry Location – Hong Kong, Macau, China

Marilu Limgenco was born May 29, 1939 in Manila, Philippines to Hunildad (Wijangco) Limgenco and Paul V. Limgenco. She had 7 brothers and 5 sisters. Marilu graduated from Assumption High School in Manila in 1956.

Marilu worked for three years at Maryknoll College, Quezon City before entering the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in 1968 in the Philippines. She had a year of reflection and theological studies at the Sisters Center in Maryknoll, NY before professing First Vows at the Center June 2, 1973. She professed Final Vows April 15, 1978 in the Philippines.

After working in Supportive Services at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Sister Marilu returned to the Philippines and worked in the National Secretariat of Social Action for Justice and Peace and was a Health, Nutrition and Family Life Coordinator. She also earned a Bachelor of Science-Home Economics degree from Centro Escolar University, Manila, in 1972. In addition, she earned a Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education from Midtown Protestant, NYC in 1973.

Her first mission assignment was to Hong Kong in 1981. After two years of Cantonese Language study, she joined the Pastoral Team Ministry in Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital. With her Chinese ancestry, Sister Marilu felt at home in her new mission. It was also like being at home on weekends when she was surrounded by hundreds of Filipina migrant workers. Sister Marilu was a friend and spiritual advisor to several domestic groups, and stressed the need to support one another as they experience both personal and collective problems. She earned a Certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong, in 1985. And a Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education from the Philippine Heart Center in 1992.

Sister Marilu continues assisting domestic migrant workers as they deal with employment issues in Hong Kong. She says that besides being the cook, the cleaner, the laundress and the baby-sitter, many of the domestic migrant workers are also loaned out illegally to clean the homes of family members or to care for older parents. Most of the women hope that they will be a domestic worker for a short time but many find themselves as housekeepers fifteen or twenty years later. Since most of the migrant workers are Filipino, the majority are also Catholic and the church reaches out to them through counseling, special Masses, bible study, and legal assistance. There is also a house of refuge for women where they can recuperate if they are sick or have lost their jobs.

Sister Mary Lou lived through the transition of Hong Kong to China in 1999 and continues working as a pastoral care-giver to the sick and dying at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital, and her ministry with the Filipina Migrant Workers.

In Hong Kong, Sister Marilu works in both health and migrant worker ministries. Both ministries are pastoral care, accompanying people to fullness of life. For Sister Marilu, “We are in pastoral care—caring and loving. We are willing to be there and journey with them in their lives.”