Sister Mary Annel, M.M.
Current Ministry Location-Maryknoll Sisters Center, NY
Sister Mary joined the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from Chicago, IL in 1957. After two years at Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY, she earned her B.S. in Pre-Med at Mount St. Vincent College, NY and her M.D. at Marquette School of Medicine (now known as Medical College of Wisconsin). After completing a Rotating Internship at the Los Angeles USC Medical Complex, she earned a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University.
In 1973, Sister Mary was assigned to Guatemala and received her Incorporation MD at the University of San Carlos, Guatemala. In Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango, she was engaged in Public Health Maternal and Child Care and a diocesan training program for rural paramedics, and was Clinical Professor of Rural Medicine at the University of San Carlos.
From 1993 to 2017, Sister Mary was assigned to El Salvador, where she worked with people living with HIV and AIDS. She received her Incorporation MD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of El Salvador. She founded and administered an AIDS prevention program, CONTRASIDA (against AIDS), where teams of educators prepare and deliver orientation about HIV and AIDS to locals. She did the preliminary investigation for developing the Catholic Church’s response to AIDS and initiated the San Salvador Archdiocesan AIDS Team legally incorporated in 2004 as the non-governmental organization, “The Salvadoran Foundation for the Fight against AIDS ‘Maria Lorena’.” There she served as President of the Foundation, Administrator, as well as Physician in the Foundation’s AIDS clinic.
Sister Mary received the National Catholic AIDS Network’s 2005 Lumina ward for her work in El Salvador. In conferring the Lumina Award, Father Robert Vitillo said of Sister Mary, “I know that you are a great example of Christ’s love and acceptance, especially to the young people whom you serve and challenge to serve and teach others.
In 2017, Sister Mary returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY after 24 years of service in El Salvador; she remains an active volunteer at the center.