Peggy Lipsio (center) with Mary Lou Herlihy and Rebecca Nyaki, Maryknoll Sisters community in Hendersonville, North Carolina
Sister Peggy hails from New Rochelle, NY and entered Maryknoll in 1957. Assigned to Chile in 1965, she studied Spanish in Pucón and moved to Talca, living among the poor, sharing their lives and their poverty. She did pastoral work, visiting people in their homes and giving Christian formation programs for married couples, as well as attending the parish clinic mornings to give injections. After ten years, she reluctantly left Chile and the people, expelled under General Pinochet’s notorious regime of violence and repression. She had risked her own life to save another.
Back in the States, Sister Peggy earned her nursing degree and in 1980, went to Thailand in response to Catholic Relief Services appeal for volunteer nurses to help in Cambodian refugee camps. She supervised a maternal child health program for a poulation of 40,000 and, understanding what life is in violent situations, took time to listen to their stories.
Assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region in 1983, she began more than a decade in Rochester, NY as a Public Health Nurse for the Monroe County Health Department, first as a Home Health Nurse, the only Spanish-speaking nurse in her division, a blessing to her many Hispanic clients. She was also a maternal/child care nurse and worked in the TB clinic.
Presently she lives in North Carolina, again sharing her skills and experience as a Henderson County Public Health Nurse, ministering to pregnant Hispanic women. She works with a Physician’s Assistant to provide physical, social and educational help to these women. Her language fluency is a great asset as she visits the trailer parks and low income housing in the county. As a volunteer nurse with the American Red Cross, she rushed to Natchitoches, Louisiana in response to the hurricane devastation of the gulf coast, helping in a shelter for more than 600 people.