Current Ministry Location – Chicago, IL
Mary Lou Ann Rajdl was born July 24, 1934 in Hudson Township, MN to Agnes Frances (Kalina) and Anton Edward Rajdl. She had one brother: Lester. She graduated from Central High School, Alexander, MN in 1952. In 1955, she earned a Diploma in Nursing from St. Mary’s School of Nursing, Rochester, MN.
While working in a hospital in Rochester Minnesota, Mary Lou Ann supervised four Maryknoll Sister nursing students. Her first introduction to Maryknoll.
Mary Lou Ann Rajdl entered the Maryknoll Sisters September 2, 1957 at their Center in NY. When she arrived at the Center, she looked up at the building and said, “Coming from a farming community in Minnesota, my first thought is it sure would hold a lot of hay!” Mary Lou Ann pronounced First Vows June 24, 1960 at the Center and Final Vows June 24, 1966 in Hong Kong.
Her first assignment was giving Congregational Service at the Sisters’ Health Care Center, Bethany at Maryknoll, NY serving from 1960 – 1962. Her first overseas mission assignment was to the Hong Kong, Macau, China Region in 1963. Before leaving in 1964, she studied at Yale University’s New Asia Language School in New Haven, CT earning a Certificate in the Cantonese Language.
In 1972 Mary Lou Ann earned a Bachelor of Arts Community Service degree from Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies In 1984 and in 1999, a Certificate in Spirituality at the Institute of Spirituality Leadership, Chicago, IL.
Through her years in mission Sister Mary Lou Ann endeared herself regaling everyone with her great sense of humor as a story teller, spiritual director, nurse, and retreat director. In Hong Kong she pursued Cantonese language study and then worked as outpatient department supervisor at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital of a small, extremely hectic, crowded and busy clinic. Patients and staff noticed her kindness and patience.
Sister Mary Lou Ann extended the hospital’s Community Nursing and also had a Prayer Presence ministry on Lantau Island. Back in Hong Kong she gave activity-oriented programs in Creation Spirituality, conducting retreats with Vietnamese asylum seekers in detention centers as well as spirituality days for Catholics and ecumenical and clown ministry sessions. Developing the leadership in the group, she asked them to name the theme they wished which gave insights into their needs. She changed students’ ideas of what a retreat could be.
In 1978 Sister Mary Lou Ann was assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region where she worked in Chicago Chinatown, primarily as a medical/social work interpreter, accompanying many Chinese immigrants to clinics and hospitals. She also served as the Chinatown Maryknoll School nutritionist and was community representative. Sister Mary Lou Ann continued to do pastoral ministry with the Chinese and Burmese; was a Spiritual Director and part time Instructor; a member of the Maryknoll Society Review Board and oversaw the Maryknoll Sisters Orientation house in Chicago when the Sisters were at the Center in NY.