A Maryknoll Sister for over 60 years, Sister Mary was born in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. She grew up in New York City, where she attended St Brendan’s Grammar School in the Bronx and St. Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan, graduating from there in 1954. Prior to entering Maryknoll, she studied at Pace College in Manhattan for three semesters while being employed at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where she worked for two years. She entered Maryknoll in 1956 from St. Brendan’s Parish, Bronx, NY, and received her religious name, Sister Marian James.
She was assigned to Korea in 1963. In preparation for this assignment she attended the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada and graduated with a certificate in social leadership in 1964.
Sister Mary went to Korea in 1964. After studying the Korean Language, she worked at the Cooperative Education Institute as the Assistant to the Director in Seoul. The work of the Institute was focused on Socio-Economic Development through education for Credit Unions and Cooperatives. She worked with the Korean Staff of the Institute where she prepared English language versions of reports, lectures and publications. From 1966 – 1969, she studied at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, where she earned a B.S. in Sociology & Far Eastern History. On her return to Korea, she worked in socio-economic development and administration until 1971.
She returned to the USA and served on the Maryknoll Sisters Vocation and Orientation Team from 1972 – 1976. After that, she was the Maryknoll Sisters Center Administrator until 1985. To qualify as Administrator of the Maryknoll Nursing Home, she studied at Jewish Home and Hospital in New York City, completed a six-month internship at St. Cabrini Nursing Home, and passed the State exam for New York State Nursing Home License in 1986. She then served as Administrator of the Maryknoll Nursing Home and Maryknoll Residential Care for 17 years. Beginning in 2001, she served for six years as Executive Secretary to the Congregational Leadership Team, and later began working with the Mission Institute.
Sister Mary is currently the Business Manager for the Mission Institute.