Sister Mary Thecla (Mutsuye) Tsuruda
Current Ministry Location – Center, NY
Mary Thecla (Mutsuye) Tsuruda was born May 14, 1924 in Sacramento, CA to Sumo Shimazu Tsuruda and Ichigoro Tsuruda. She had 3 brothers: Tom, Ben and Ray. Thecla graduated from Sacramento Senior High School, Sacramento, CA in 1942. After her mother’s death, the Catholic faith was introduced to Thecla by her sister who was by then three years a convert. Mary Thecla was baptized in 1945 at Manzanar Japanese Relocation Center after she finished the required instructions for baptism.
Mary Thecla Tsuruda entered the Maryknoll Sisters at the novitiate in Valley Park, MO on October 14, 1948 from St. Francis Xavier parish in Los Angeles, CA. She professed First Vows May 8, 1951 in Valley Park and Final Vows May 8, 1954 in Japan. Her first assignment was to give Congregational Service at the Center in NY in the Promotions Office of the Development Department.
Sister Thecla’s first overseas mission assignment was to Kyoto, Japan in 1953 where she immediately started language study and did parish work at Saiin, Takano and Kyoto from 1954 – 1970. In 1963, she received a Diploma in Business from the Merchant & Bankers Business. Later at Kyoto, Sister Thecla taught English to children and adults from 1971-72, and Adult Education in 1973, also at Kyoto.
Sister’s next assignment was to the Central Pacific Region where she did parish work in Honolulu from 1975-1980 and at the Catholic Social Service Outreach for the Elderly from 1981-1985. Following Congregational Service at Monrovia (1985-88), Sister Mary returned to Honolulu in 1991 and was a full time worker as Service Aide at the Catholic Charities Services to the Elderly from 1991-1995.
In 1996, Sister Mary was assigned to Monrovia, California where she retired until 2013 when she was assigned to the Center in New York.