It’s developing a relationship that reaches out and touches people – the poor, the sick – that counts.”
A tireless advocate for migrant workers in Southeast Asia, Sister Pat Norton has been Maryknoll Sister for 70 years.
The Milwaukee, WI, born Sister began her ministry journey in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), serving as a nursing supervisor at a government general hospital in Kandy and a head nurse in Kundasale.
After earning her Masters in Surgical Nursing in 1964, she went to South Korea. In Pusan she was Dean in Maryknoll Junior College of Nursing and a leader for a nursing instruction team. “We have our students tramping the highways and alley-ways – getting a thorough grasp of the family and social problems that affect health before they ever meet a patient in the hospital.”
“My faith had been deepened in Labor Ministry when I worked with the Korean women who first fought for human rights for factory workers.” This led her to help start the Chul San Dong Encounter House in Seoul, a neighborhood labor center offering education programs and counseling for labor problems.They reflected on Scripture and the labor union movement.
The UN Non-Governmental Committee on Social Development surveyed 190 projects around the world and chose the Miriam Center in Seoul, Korea as one of 14 to serve as a model for others. SisterPat Norton and Norie Mojado who helped found Miriam, presented the project at the Church Center Building, United Nations Plaza (photo). The greatest success: the empowerment of 750 migrant women for self-reliance. In 2007 the Sisters turned Miriam, over to Korean colleagues.
In Jilin Province, China Sister Pat and another Sister helped set up a hospital, assisted English teachers, and taught in a college.
In 2010, Sister Pat returned to the United States, where she served as the resident nurse for the Maryknoll Sisters retirement house in Monrovia, CA, and served on their Coordinating Team, until 2015. She now resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.