Meet a Hong Kong missioner who lived a ten-minute bus ride from the China mainland border.
When Bishop John Baptist Wu invited the Maryknoll Sisters to staff a hostel for the elderly in Hong Kong public housing, financed by Caritas and the government, Sister Miedal Stone was one of four Maryknoll Sisters who responded when it was opened in 1983. The Ying Shui hostel, one floor of a high-rise apartment building, was home to 97 residents.
Like the elderly, the Maryknoll Sisters who staffed the hostel lived together in one room that was 10 feet by 24 feet, with bunk beds and simple facilities, where their elderly neighbors dropped in sometimes for a cup of tea or a hug. Each room of three or four people was treated as a separate home and the corridors as “the streets of the village.” Individuals observed their own religion, with Catholics and Protestants being a minority among a largely Buddhist population in the hostel.
Sister Miedal wrote home, “Our days are filled with hard work, loud conversations, myriad requests for this and that, tears and laughter. The best part is to hear the laughter and teasing going on among the residents, seeing the mah jong players going full tilt in Room 303.”
“I’ve had umpteen ambulance rides and various times I have been the only family member to sign the necessary documents and perform the funeral rites for our residents,” Sister Miedal wrote.
When the Caritas home celebrated its 15th anniversary in 1998, Sister Miedal, who had lived there since its foundation, bid farewell to her elderly friends. The Sisters had become beloved members of the community. Living among the elderly was a deliberate attempt at a “dialogue of life,” sharing the joys and sorrows of those the Sisters sought to serve.
Sister Miedal entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from Pomona, CA, in 1954. After two years at Maryknoll Teachers College, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mount. St. Vincent College in New York, then was certified as a medical technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO, in 1965, when she was assigned to Hong Kong.
Her varied ministries in Hong Kong have included being supervisor of the clinical laboratory at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in Kowloon, where she was also a lab technician; teaching at the Maryknoll Sisters School. In 1980, Sister Miedal began her work with the elderly. Regarding her many years of service to the elderly, Sister Miedal shares, “I was once told I should work with young people as the future of the world is with them, but it is more enjoyable with the elderly as the present is with them.”
After leaving the Ying Shui hostel in 1998, she had a renewal period and then began to share her joyful spirit with a variety of services for retired Maryknoll Sisters living at our center in New York.
She returned to Hong Kong in 2003 and began volunteer pastoral care ministry at two hospitals. She lived with another Maryknoll Sister in St. Jerome’s Parish in Hung Shui Kin in the New Territories, very close to the border of mainland China. For 42 years, Sister Miedal has truly made her home in Hong Kong and China.
Since December 2013, Sister Miedal has resided at the Maryknoll Sisters Convent in Monrovia, CA, where she takes care of the vestments and other materials needed for Mass and services in the chapel at Monrovia.