Sister Mary Lee Englerth, M.M.
Current Ministry Location-Pennsylvania
Sister Mary Lee, a native of Harrisburg, PA, has been doing the work she loves for almost forty years in three countries: Peru, Guatemala and the United States. She is the state migrant program and clinic director for 18 counties in Pennsylvania. The program has teams working in the various areas which she visits periodically.
There are 82 camps in Adams County, Pennsylvania, and Sister Mary Lee, along with a nursing staff, goes out to the camps three nights a week. She listens to the women’s fears and discusses their problems in Spanish. She supervises medical students who visit the camps and clinic every night. Her hope is that as they hear stories of the disparity in health care among the poor, it might influence their future work.
She says, “These laborers are hard workers; they re not on welfare, they pay taxes and serve as the backbone for a multi-billion-dollar agricultural industry.”
Sister Mary Lee entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1973. She was assigned to Peru in 1975 and trained Health Promoters in isolated Aymara communities in the Juli Prelature.
For two years, 1989-1991, she served as administrator at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York. After her first ten years working with the migrants, she accepted the invitation of the San Marcos Health team to join their program in Guatemala in 2003. In Concepción, Tutuapa, the mountain area where Sister Mary Lee worked, the nearest hospital was a three-hour drive on a bad road. She helped train health promoters who saw their role as a Christian ministry to their communities.
Returning to the United States in 2007, she continued her present ministry with the migrant workers, many of whom come from the places she knew south of the border.