Sister Rose Bernadette Gallagher


Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY 

Mary Elizabeth ‘Meg’ Gallagher was born September 12th, 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island to Elizabeth Mary (Byrne) Gallagher and John Gallagher. She had 6 brothers and one sister all of whom predeceased her.

Sister Mary Elizabeth graduated from Aldrich High School in Lakewood, RI in 1940. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters at their Mother House in Ossining, NY September 7th, 1943. At the time of her Reception into the Congregation, she was given the name Sister Rose Bernadette which she kept until after Vatican Council 2 when the Maryknoll Sisters could choose to return to their Baptismal names. She pronounced her First Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY on March 7th, 1946 and her Final Vows March 7th, 1949 in China. From 1946 until 1948 she provided clerical services for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society at their Seminary in Maryknoll, NY.

Sister Rose’s first overseas assignment was to the Chinese mainland in Wuchow where she studied the Language for a year before moving to Hong Kong where she served as a pastoral agent from 1948 – 1973 and earned a Certificate in Chinese Studies from the Hong Kong Yale University Language School.

Returning to the Sates in 1973, she became a full time student at Mundelein College, Chicago, IL earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology in 1975. From 1975 – 1977, Sister Rose worked at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in the Development Department. In 1981 she earned a Masters Degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago. Shortly after, she was assigned to Thailand where she remained until 2005. In Bangkok she served as Director of the Women’s Desk for ten years. “We attempt to empower Thai women and young adults with a sense of their personal dignity and to build upon their innate potential for spiritual, intellectual and personal growth.”

In 2006, Sister Rose went to the Sudan for a short period of time teaching at the elementary level.

Back at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York, Sister served in our Global Concerns Office, keeping up with the problem of the trafficking of women throughout the world, and attended meetings at the UN related to Women’s Advocacy. From 2007 – 2014 Sister gave Congregational Service with retired Sisters who volunteered in various areas at the Center.

Sister retired in 2016 residing at the Cente and continuing to be an active contributor to Community life.