Sister Mary Little
Current Mission Location – Cambodia
Mary Little was born April 3, 1944 in Bridgeport, CT to Anna (Wolski) Little and Charles W. Little. She had one brother. Mary graduated from Bunnell High School in Stratford, CT in 1962. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French in 1966 from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT in 1966 and a Certificate in Education from the University of Hartford, Hartford, CT in 1968.
Mary came to Maryknoll from Connecticut September 14, 1969 at the novitiate in St. Lois, MO as a French and Spanish teacher. She pronounced First Vows April 2, 1972 in Tanzania and Final Vows April 15, 1978 in Korea. In 1970 she earned a Master of Arts degree in French from Trinity College, Hartford, CT.
In 1975 she was assigned to Korea and briefly in 1991 to ‘93 taught in China. Since then she has taught English in a government school in Tanzania, Africa and in universities in China and South Korea.
In 2000 she was assigned to Cambodia. Now in Cambodia Sister Mary is a caring and compassionate teacher in a country where the HIV/AIDS rates are among the highest in Asia.
In a country like Cambodia where education at all levels is a challenge, Sister Mary Little shares her energy and talents at both ends of the spectrum. Since she arrived in Cambodia in 2000, Sister Mary has served as a faculty member of the Royal University of Phnom Penh as well as animating and coordinating literacy and primary education for “Little Folks,” the most vulnerable of poor children. Most of the parents of these children are living with HIV/AIDS.
Over the years, Sister Mary and her co-workers have observed and changed the program for the little folks by providing books, supplies, teacher training, and making sure literacy begins at the earliest age possible. She facilitates scholarships for primary school and follows up with supportive presence at school meetings.
At the University, she has taught both French and English; assisted in the development of curriculum; and mentored new teachers, both Cambodian and foreign. Since nothing is written in Khmer in any field of research, English or French are the practical languages that connect students with the rest of the world. They need to be proficient in English as professionals in their fields to continue to update themselves, write reports, etc.