Sister Maria Gracia is one of 600 Medical Mission Sisters and 80 Associates in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.
Sister Maria Gracia was born and raised in Agno, Pangasinan Province, in the Philippines, where she completed her elementary and secondary education. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at the University of St. Thomas in Manila, where she also worked as head nurse. Sister Maria Gracia came to the U.S. as an exchange visitor student, and worked at the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital at Columbia University in New York City. Feeling the call to religious life, she joined our Community in Philadelphia, and made her First Vows in 1961.
Sister did nursing work at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and then at Holy Family Hospital in Dacca, East Pakistan. In 1968, she returned to the Philippines and studied at the East Asian Pastoral Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University.
For the next 13 years, Sister Maria Gracia ministered in the area of integral human development, which includes health, self-government, education, spirituality, and ways to earn a living. She was involved with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, and with an agrarian movement in central Luzon.
From 1982 to 1996, Sister Maria Gracia helped farmers, women and youth struggle for preservation and reconstruction of the environment, especially with the Sarling Sikap Corporation, Abra. She then returned to her hometown, where she worked with local fisherfolk, farmers and women in integrated human development programs and community building.
Sister Maria Gracia has been involved with HEAL (Haven for Ecological and Alternative Living) since January, 2010. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Medical Mission Sister in 2011.
September 1, 2011