Current Ministry Location: Monrovia, CA
Sister Maureen speaks with a soft Southern drawl. Born in Covington, Kentucky May 29th, 1931 to Gladys (Leach) Gunning and George J. Gunning, she grew up in Atlanta, Georgia with 4 sisters and 2 brothers. She graduated from Christ the King High School in Atlanta in 1949.
Sister Maureen entered the Maryknoll Sisters February 1st, 1951 from Christ the King Parish, Atlanta. She pronounced First Vows September 8th, 1953 in Valley Park and Final Vows September 8th, 1959 in California.
After earning a Bachelor of Education degree from Maryknoll Teachers College, in 1958 Sister Maureen was assigned to the Maryknoll Japanese School in Los Angeles, CA. “I had my first chance to learn appreciation for a culture different from my own.” The Japanese community became very dear to my heart with relationships that continue.”
In 1964, Sister Maureen was assigned to Taiwan where she studied both Taiwanese and Mandarin. She ministered in a hostel for college women and taught English in two colleges. Aware of the many needs of young workers, she spent twelve years ministering to factory workers. Encouraged by the Taiwanese church, Sister Maureen and another Sister had a “Neighborhood Ministry,” for more than twenty years in three towns. Their neighbors were Taoist, Buddhist and believers in Folk Religions. The Sisters were on the street a lot meeting people, chatting in the market, and celebrating family events. For those interested, they conducted scripture classes. They learned how people got in touch with God in the temples, with their home shrines. Some became lasting friends. Six neighbors were baptized in one place.
Remembering all her years in mission, Sister Maureen says, “My deepest feelings are of love and gratitude to God who has done everything.” In 2008, Sister Maureen was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters House in Monrovia, CA. In 2017 she returned to the Sisters’ Center in NY where she continues to reside and to volunteer in the Sisters’ Home Care unit.