Current Ministry Location: Monrovia, CA
Mary Malherek was born February 18, 1932 in Fairmont, MN to Mary Grace (Seigel) Malherek and Peter Edward Malherek and raised in rural Minnesota. She had 2 sisters: Mary and Joan (also a Maryknoll Sister) and 2 brothers: Joseph and Paul. She graduated from Good Counsel Academy in Mankato, MN, in 1950.
Mary entered the Mayknoll Sisters Congregation at the Center in NY February 1, 1951. She pronounced First Vows September 8, 1953 at the Center and Final Vows September 8, 1959 also at the Center. She earned her Bachelor in Education degree from Maryknoll Teachers College, Maryknoll, NY in 1957. Her first assignment was to teach at St. Anthony of Padua School in the Bronx, NY from 1957-1961.
Sister Mary’s first mission assignment was to Puebla, Mexico in 1962 where she taught English and Religion in the Jesuit Primary School. She then went to Marida, Yucatan, Mexico to the Colegio Peninsular, Rogers Hall from 1963 to 1968 where she taught Religion and English from First to Ninth Grades. In
1968, Sister returned to the U.S. where she did Promotion work for the Maryknoll Sisters until 1970. This was followed by studies at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul, MN where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Nursing in 1973. That year she was assigned to work with a rural health promoters’ program in Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango, Guatemala from until 1982.
From 1982 to 1984 Sister returned to Promotion work out of Chicago, IL. At this time she became involved with the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America and then with the Sanctuary Movement, translating for the refugees as they spoke in welcoming churches. This was followed by a period of fulltime work with the Sanctuary Movement from 1985 to 1986. From there she went, in the Autumn of 1986, to the Refugee Camp in Campeche, Mexico, living and working closely with the refugees who had fled from Guatemala.
Sister Mary worked in the same camps as the Mexican Refugee Organization under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees until the Fall of 1992. From 1993-1995 she served as Admissions Director in the Maryknoll Language Institute in Cochabamba, Bolivia, as well as Coordinator of the Maryknoll Sisters Center House, Casa Rosario, in that same city. In 1995 Sister returned to Mexico to the outskirts of Oaxaca, Colonia Azucenas of San Martin Mexicapan, where she was involved in the formation of Basic Christian Communities as well as in the promotion of women and children. In 2006, after turning over their mission in Oaxaca to the local people, Sister Mary returned to the U.S. In California she volunteered in the distribution of food for needy families, shared centering prayer in a prison ministry/pastoral ministry with the sick and elderly and care of the earth.
In January, 2011, Sister Mary moved to the Maryknoll Sisters retirement community in Monrovia, CA, where she worked on a written history of the Maryknoll Sisters work in Mexico.