Sister Nancy Lyons

nlyons_lgSister Nancy Lyons

Current Ministry Location – Monrovia, CA

Nancy Lyons was born May 19, 1937 in Hamilton, Scotland to Bridget (Dougan) Lyons and Michael Lyons. She had 3 brothers and 1 sister. Nancy graduated from St. Mary’s School, Scotland in 1953. She received her R.N. from Law General Hospital, Carluke, Scotland in 1959.

Nancy moved to the U.S. in 1961 and worked in hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, CA. Then, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, she nursed Cambodian refugees in Thailand. Sister Nancy was assigned in 1983 to an isolated area where she worked in a clinic and a nutrition program for children.

Nancy joined the Maryknoll Sisters from Walnut Creek, CA, at the Sisters Center in NY August 22, 1981. She pronounced First Vows at the Center December 11, 1982 and Final Vows April 4, 1989 in South Sudan.

Assigned to theSouth Sudan in 1985, she lived in Kworijik near Juba and worked in a community-based health program. When war forced the Sisters to leave Kworijik, she set up a kindergarten for children in a displaced persons camp. Sister Nancy made her final vows there in 1989 and the entire community of 5,000 came to the celebration. In 1992, all Maryknoll missioners and all expatriates were expelled from Sudan.

Soon, Sister Nancy returned to the diocese of Torit in South Sudan, where displaced persons were located. “Where else would we go,” asked Nancy. “We have been with the Southern Sudanese through the war; we want to be with them in exile, too.”  She continued working with women as well as teaching displaced youngsters in a makeshift classroom.

In Nairobi, Kenya, Sister Nancy helped administer the Africa World Section House for Maryknoll Sisters from the Sudan and other African countries. She helped Sudanese refugees and founded three preschools in Kibera, the largest slum area in East Africa. Children could learn in this safe and clean oasis. This work was turned over to 10 trained women from Kibera.

Presently in California, a member of the Western U.S. Region, Sister Nancy has volunteered in hospice care, at a crisis center, and with centering prayer in a women’s prison.