While working in a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, Mary Lou Rajdl supervised four Maryknoll Sisters studying nursing. Soon she herself joined the Maryknoll Sisters.
When Sister Mary Lou arrived at Maryknoll, NY in 1957, she looked up at the Sisters Center and said, “Coming from a farming community in Minnesota, my first thought as I looked up at the building was, “it sure would hold a lot of hay!”
Through her years in mission Sister Mary Lou has endeared herself regaling everyone with her great sense of humor as a story teller, spiritual director, nurse, and retreat director. Assigned to Hong Kong in 1963 she pursued Cantonese language study and then worked as out patient department supervisor at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in a small clinic extremely hectic, crowded and busy. Patients and staff noticed her kindness and patience.
In Lantau Island, Sister Mary Lou extended the hospital’s Community Nursing and also had a Prayer Presence ministry. Back in Hong Kong she gave activity-oriented programs in Creation Spirituality, conducting retreats in Vietnamese camps, spirituality days for Catholic and ecumenical groups 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 was assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region and worked in Chinatown, Chicago primarily as medical/social work interpreter, taking many Chinese to clinics and hospitals. She also served as the school nutritionist and was its community representative. Sister Mary Lou continues to do pastoral ministry with the Chinese and Burmese; is a Spiritual Director and part time Instructor; a member of the Maryknoll Society Review Board and oversees the Maryknoll Sisters Orientation house in Chicago during the months when they are at the Center in NY.