Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY
Sister Theresa was born December 31st, 1943 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada to Eileen Kastner and Cyril Kastner. She has 3 Sisters and 2 brothers. She graduated from Stratford Collegiate Institute, Stratford, Ontario, Canada in 1961.
Sister Theresa entered the Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Valley Park, MO on October 18th, 1962. She pronounced First Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on June 24th, 1965 and Final Vows May 16th, 1971 in Taiwan. Following completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education from Mary Rogers College in Ossining, NY, Sister Theresa’s first assignment was to Taiwan in 1969. After two years of language study in Mandarin, Chinese, she taught English and sociology, and served as a chaplain of the Young Christian Workers group in the city of Hsinchu, for nearly 10 years.
She returned to the United States in 1980, serving in Development Department and Admissions Team – in Chicago – for the Maryknoll Sisters through 1984. Sister Theresa then completed a Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies at Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, Chicago, IL in 1985. Sister Theresa returned to Kaohsiung, Taiwan later that year, where she was involved in pastoral work with women, adult education, Marriage Encounters, women’s self-development courses, spiritual direction and retreat direction until 2008. In 1995, she attended the Beijing NGO Forum on Women with ten other Sisters and five laywomen who represented Taiwan’s “Sprout”, a Catholic women’s concerns group.
Sister Theresa has also facilitated, in both Chinese and English, courses in the Enneagram, a psychological and spiritual theory that presents nine basic personality types of human nature and their complex interrelationships, and trained others how to use it. In addition, she has written a book about the Enneagram in English that has also been translated into Chinese.
Sister Theresa was appointed co-director of Orientation for the Maryknoll Sisters, a position she held in Chicago, from 2009-2012. In 2014, she went to a new mission in Haiti, serving there for two years. During that time, she studied the Haitian Creole language and volunteered at the Granmoun Village, a residential area for abandoned elderly. She also taught basic English to Haitian Franciscan Sisters at an orphanage near her home.
In 2016, Sister Theresa was assigned to the Development Department at the Sisters Center. That same year she began to participate as a mentor with priest and Sister graduate students from China, in the Maryknoll Society’s China Educators and Formators Project. Currently she continues both these ministries and occasionally also does spiritual direction and retreat work.