We human beings are a fragile race. When we are hurt and are suffering, we need someone to listen to us; to soften the tears of the soul.
In 1959, Sister Rosemarie Milazzo entered Maryknoll after teaching in a New York City public school for three years. Her first mission was at Transfiguration School in New York’s Chinese section of Manhattan, NY, where she taught for four years and then was appointed principal for four more years. She worked hard to move Transfiguration School from a traditional parochial school to a community school, involving many people in the life of the school.
She was assigned to East Africa in 1971, and after studying Swahili, was assigned to begin teacher training at the teacher training college in Kitale, Kenya. She was there for three years and continued teacher training in Eldoret for five more years. She was home in New York for three years for family ministry, returning to Kenya in 1982. Sister Rosemarie was assigned to the Bura Tana irrigation project.This was an initiative set up by the World Bank and Kenya’s government to reclaim the desert. She worked there for eight years doing literacy, serving Christian communities, women’s groups, and others.
Much of her work there was building the community as there were landless, homeless people brought to Bura Tana to work and live there. They were strangers to the desert, strangers to each other, and strangers to the nomads who inhabited the desert. Sister Rosemarie did lots of communication work, group building exercises, etc. in order to help people know one another better. The nomads living in the desert did not know Swahili, so Sister Rosemarie taught Swahili there.
From 1991-1996, Sister Rosemarie served global mission as a member of our vocation ministry in Maryknoll, NY. In 1996, she returned to Africa, this time to Mwanza, Tanzania. She began an AIDS project in the village, set up support groups, advocated for people living with HIV/AIDS, worked with orphans, and set up a school for special needs children.
In 2003, she was asked to be the congregational personnel director at Maryknoll, NY, for four years. When she finished this ministry, she joined the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), which offers an organized, nonviolent alternative to war. As a team, CPT members practice a lifestyle of prayer, community, and faith in the transforming power of nonviolence in their own lives and in the world. After completing CPT training in 2008, Sister Rosemarie served on peace missions in Hebron in the Middle East and with the Aboriginal Justice Team in Canada for three months. She also served on a CPT team that cared for refugees during the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sister Rosemarie’s most recent CPT assignment was peace-building in northern Iraq.