Sister Martha Bourne, M.M.
Current Ministry Location-Maryknoll Sisters Center
Sister Martha entered Maryknoll at Valley Park, MO, on October 18, 1960, from St. Michael’s Parish, Charlestown, IN. She received her B.S. in Education from Nazareth College in Nazareth, KY in 1959. After her profession on June 24, 1963, Sister Martha worked at the Motherhouse at the Local Secretary’s Office. Then Sister Martha was assigned to Chicago’s Chinatown to teach at St. Theresa’s Primary School from 1964 – 1967.
Sister Martha’s first foreign assignment was to South China in 1967, where she started with language study at Hong Kong University. Afterwards, she was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters School at Blue Pool Road in Hong Kong, teaching Religion, Geography, and English Literature and Religion from 1968 – 1972.
Sister Martha then moved to Kwun Tong at the Kwun Tong Resettlement Area in Kowloon, and taught English grammar in Grades 4 and 6 at Our Lady of China Primary School from 1972-1977.
In 1978, Sister Martha returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, and was manager of the Maryknoll Sisters Communications and Public Relations Office in New York from 1979-1984.
Sister Martha returned to Kwun Tong in Kowloon in 1984, where she served as editor and lay out artist with Union of Catholic Agencies News (UCAN) for 5 years.
From 1989-1994, Sister Martha worked with the Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS) in a camp for Vietnamese asylum seekers in various detention centers in Hong Kong. Sister Martha’s work was varied under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and in cooperation with voluntary international, government and Catholic agencies. The groups provided the Vietnamese with services such as English classes for children and adults, games and entertainment for children, celebrated their holidays, birthdays, weddings and birth of babies, as well as listening to their stories. “While we were Christians, we were not allowed to do direct evangelization,” Sister Martha said, “but let our lives speak to the people of God’s love for both them and us, especially when they asked why we were helping them.”
Sister Martha returned to Maryknoll, NY, in 1994 and served in Maryknoll Mission Archives for nine years. In 2004, she was appointed Coordinator of Government Benefit Programs for her congregation’s Treasury Department.
She resides at Maryknoll, NY, where her warm presence and various talents are deeply appreciated.