Sister Michelle Reynolds
Current Ministry Location – Hong Kong
Michelle Reynolds was born August 25, 1942 in Lynn, MA to Catherine (Curran) Reynolds and John S. Reynolds. She had 1 sister: Catherine and 3 brothers: George, John and Richard. She graduated as a member of the National Honor Society in 1960 from St. Mary’s High School, Lynn, MA.
Michelle Reynolds entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation September 2, 1960 at the Sisters’ Center in New York. She professed First Vows June 24, 1963 at the Center and Final Vows April 30, 1970 in New York City. From 1963 to ’64, Michelle was a full time student at Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY were she earned a Bachelor of Science, Education degree in 1968. During that time, she gave Congregational Service, support services in the Maryknoll Sisters’ Mail Room. Then in 1972 she earned a Master of Arts in Family Relations from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.
Sister Michelle’s first overseas assignment was to Hong Kong in 1972, from NY Chinatown where she had spent four years, so she had been immersed in the rapidly changing history of China. She studied Cantonese in Hong Kong at the Chinese University, full time for two years. She served as parish administrator, the first other than a priest, in the diocese, of Our Lady Queen of Angels for ten years, first in Fuk Wah Village, then in Shun Lee Estate when the parish was relocated. Sister Michelle also was parish liaison with the Helping Hand Shelter for the Elderly, and for a few years, served as the supervisor of the Shelter. In 1983, she moved to the Northwest New Territories doing pastoral work and serving in various parishes in the Yuen Long and Tuen Mun areas.
For sixteen years, Sister Michelle was involved in pastoral ministry in St. Jerome’s Parish, Tin Shui Wai, a new town on the border with China, where there was a large percentage of immigrants and people on welfare. The parish also included several surrounding villages, giving a mixture of rural and urban life. Sister Michelle’s work was primarily Parish Religious Formation Programs and serveding on the School Management Committees for one Catholic primary school and two Catholic secondary schools.
Early in 2007, Sister Michelle wrote: “Can you believe it? I hop on a bus in Tin Shui Wai, and in ten minutes, I am in China! It’s the one and only double immigration center on China’s side. You go through Hong Kong immigration with an ID card and a minute later, China’s immigration with a passport and visa. We passed through in minutes.” That was one of the predictions: the border would gradually disappear, and it seems to be true.
On July 7, 2007 the parish had the formal closing of the Ying Yin Catholic Primary School, a little village school in Tan Kwai Village, where she lived. Cardinal Joseph Zen was the celebrant and special tribute was paid to the fifty years of service that school provided. Times had changed, and now there were new challenges. The former kindergarten became a mushroom farm and training center for the jobless.
Besides working with the Chinese, over the years Sister Michelle also was involved with the Migrant Workers Ministry. In learning about the Filipino culture and the many challenges facing the Filipino migrant workers, Sister Michelle experienced a beautiful witness to their faith and cheerfulness in the face of oppression and suffering.
As a former member of the Hong Kong Archdiocesan Vocation Commission, Sister Michelle joined the group as they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary on July 21, 2007. It was a time to give thanks, and reflect on many lives that had been touched. There were the dedicated lay women who established the Hong Kong Catholic Lay Missionary Association of which Sister Michelle had been an advisor from the beginning. After three decades in Hong Kong, Sister Michelle became very much “at home” in Hong Kong and China.
She took a well-deserved extended Renewal program in 2008. After Renewal, when she returned to Hong Kong Sister Michelle was joined by another Maryknoll Sister. They shared the work in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long, New Territories and was asked to be a Supervisor for the three Catholic schools in the area and encouraged to set up a Spirituality Center in Rosary Chapel. On March 1, Sister Michelle also agreed to work part time in St. Stephen’s Parish in Kwai Chung.