Sister Rita, from St. Louis, Missouri, entered Maryknoll in 1978. Prior to her arrival at Maryknoll, she earned a B.S. in Nursing and served as an Army nurse at Fort McClellan in Alabama. She studied in the Core Theology program at Maryknoll School of Theology in Maryknoll, NY. She then studied clinical pastoral education. In 1993 she earned certification as a formatter from the Institute of Religious Formation at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO.
Sister Rita went to Japan in 1981 and studied Japanese language full time for 2 years. She then audited nursing courses at St. Mary’s Junior College of Nursing in Tokyo in Japanese in preparation for the Japanese National Nursing Exam. Sister Rita received her Japanese Nursing License in 1987.
Sister Rita was a nurse at the SanyuKai Clinic (free medical clinic for the homeless) in Sanya (Tokyo Ward), Japan until 1992. She returned to Maryknoll, and for five years was co-director of Congregational Orientation Program for the Maryknoll Sisters. She then earned her MSN in Family and Community Health Nursing from St. Louis University (2001).
Sister Rita returned to Japan in 2002, and celebrated her Silver Jubilee of Profession as a Maryknoll Sister the following year. She volunteered for one year at Place Tokyo, a community-based organization begun ten years previously that supports people with HIV&AIDS and their families. The program offers preventive education and support. In 2003, Sister Rita returned to the SanyuKai Clinic and ran the clinic until 2015. The following year, she volunteered in Fukushima Prefecture, Minami Soma through CTVC (Catholic Tokyo Volunteer Center) ministering to people young and old whose lives were completely changed by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima #1 Nuclear Power Plant Accident.
In 2017, Sister Rita returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center and was appointed “Integrative Care Coordinator” of Health Services.