“Life is a precious gift and we want to use that gift well to enable ourselves and others to bloom to full maturity.”
Josephine (Jo) Kollmer was born in East Moriches, L.I., New York. She earned an M.A. in Education at Adelphi College, Garden City, NY. After teaching in the Massapequa Schools for thirteen years, she joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1964. She was assigned to Kenya and worked in Kilimambogo Teachers College. She also trained as a facilitator with the Africa Development Education Program using this methodology of participatory education to work with diocesan groups fostering human development in other countries including Zambia, Botswana and Lesotho.
Sister Jo Kollmer was elected to the Maryknoll Sisters Central Governing Board and served in some historically difficult years from 1978-1984. Three Maryknoll Sisters were killed in El Salvador during that time.
She considered it a privilege to serve in Zimbabwe in its earliest years following independence. She worked with an international, ecumenical team for leadership training of South African women. Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, they traveled to neighboring countries to respond to requests.
Later with two other Sisters she initiated Maryknoll’s mission presence in newly independent Namibia. She spent fifteen years in formation of young religious women, seminarians and priests, as well as training lay catechists in the parishes and mission stations of the country. She established the National Catechetical Program for the Namibian Bishops Conference.
“All these years of learning and teaching as an educator, in both the academic and religious sector, taught me that Mission is simply a sharing of our lives, gifts and talents with others.” After her many years in Africa, Sister Jo was assigned to the Eastern U.S. Region in 2010, and currently resides in Westchester County, NY.