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Sister Katherine Baltazar

Sister Katherine is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

Sister Katherine’s mother is Swiss and her father is Filipino. Both were present, along with many other family members and friends, when she made her Final Profession of Vows on September 5, 2010, at our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia.

Sister Katherine, who speaks six languages, graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, VA, in 1977 with degrees in science and nursing, and earned a third degree in psychology from Marymount Manhattan College in New York in 1980. She then lived in Europe for several years, studying at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.

When Sister Katherine returned to the U.S., she earned her Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at Columbia University in New York. She served as an oncology nurse at Sloan-Kettering Hospital, and also worked with Mexican immigrant women in Arizona. Pursuing an interest in native peoples and herbal medicines, she visited New Zealand and Australia.

Sister Katherine settled in Hawaii for six years, where she studied culture and community development, taught undergraduate nursing at the University of Hawaii, and worked as a psychiatric nurse at Hawaii State Hospital. She also earned her certification as a clinical nurse specialist and served as president of the Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW). “Through the FAUW, I became friendly with a Filipino Jesuit, Father Jaime Neri,” Sister Katherine recalls. It was through him that she learned about our Community.

At the prompting of a friend, she attended a Basic Christian Community retreat, and heard a newly-professed Benedictine nun share her story. “She ended her talk by saying, ‘If you hear God’s call, heed that call.’ For some reason, I heard this directed at me,” Sister Katherine recalls. “Before I left Hawaii, I visited the Benedictine and told her my story. She told me that her prayer to God was that her talk would touch just one person. I turned out to be the answer to that prayer.”

Living in Philadelphia for the past 8 years, Sister Katherine served as a nurse, and ministered in our New Jerusalem Laura program for recovering addicts. For three months, she had a mission experience with the Lakota Sioux in Rosebud, South Dakota. She earned a post-master’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner certificate from Drexel University and now works at Livengrin, a Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Rehab Center in Bensalem, PA.

September 15, 2010