Sister Marion Puszcz

“When people are shown compassion in times of suffering, a great bonding occurs that carries beyond religion, nationality, color and even attitudes.”

mpuszcz_lgMaryknoll Sister Marion Puszcz, a medical doctor, has been a source of healing and hope for adults, children, and the elderly throughout the world. Born in Yonkers, New York, Sister Marion acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Philosophy from Fordham University in 1945, and later earned her MD in obstetrics and gynecology from Medical Training College New York.

Sister Marion then began her work at Albany Medical Center. It was while serving there that she recognized her call to the religious life. Sister Marion joined the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in 1954 and made her first vows in 1957.

In 1957, she was assigned to mission in Tanzania, Africa where she served for 25 years. Sister Marion was the first gynecologist in Tanzania. While there, she established and directed a catholic hospital in Kowak. She taught her specialty at the Tanzanian Medical College and was an obstetrician at the Muhimbili Medical Center in Dar es Salaam. President Nyerere had suggested that she could help mostly Muslim women who, due to cultural taboos, could only be reviewed by female doctors. Sister Marion also trained medical doctors in Kenya.

In the early 1980s, she came back to the United States, where she helped set up clinics in Harlem for women on parole, working mostly with Dominican and Haitian immigrants.

Sister Marion then moved to Bangladesh in 1989 where she served as a medical director for 10 years in St. Paul’s hospital in Shelabunia, an area predominantly occupied by Muslims.

Sister Marion then went to Nicaragua, where she taught English as a second language and health care for 5 years. After her time in Nicaragua, she was assigned to Maryknoll Sisters retirement community in Monrovia, California in 2001. On Fridays, she works a 10-hour day as chaplain at City of Hope, and in 2002, she was named the city’s Senior of the Year.