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2014 Archival Treasures


Healing Presence

National Catholic Sisters Week
Medical Mission Sisters are among 51,000 Sisters in the United States today applauding a first-ever occurrence.  As part of National Women’s History Month, March 8-14 has been named “National Catholic Sisters Week.” Various media will feature the invaluable service Catholic Sisters offer to persons of all ages and stages of life.  Our 107 Medical Mission Sisters now in the U.S. are proud that our mission of healing presence touches the lives of so many people in need.
(March 13th, 2014)
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Justice Ministries in Ethiopia
Medical Mission Sisters in Ethiopia have key roles in the production of a Justice, Peace and Environment Bulletin that is being shared throughout the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa. Working to build “a culture of peace and non-violence,” Sister Belaynesh Abera is Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the 36-page magazine that shares Ethiopians’ experiences of their own peace-building efforts.  Sister Carol Reed assists the Archdiocesan Catholic Secretariat staff as an Associate Editor.
(March 21st, 2014)
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Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s Audiobook
Medical Mission Sisters give special thanks to singer-songwriter Janis Ian for narrating the audiobook of our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s autobiography, The Singer and the Song.  Winner of an “Earphones Award” from Audiofile Magazine, it includes Janis singing over 20 songs in MT’s stories, as well as her own original composition.  She says of our Sister MT, “Wherever she goes, whatever she touches, she creates a community.  I think you’ll find it when you listen to this book.”  Audiobook available at: http://hartsem.edu/WLI/music.html  MP3 CD downloads at: www.amazon.com
(April 14th, 2014)
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Earth Day 2014
Medical Mission Sisters have long marked Earth Day, first celebrated on April 22, 1970, ”to promote ecology and respect for life on our planet.”  We continue to explore how to deepen our healing charism from the ecological perspective.  At our last General Chapter we noted, “The Earth has its own potential to organize and heal itself if human beings stop exploiting it.  Understanding ourselves more fully as part of the whole Earth community brings us to a spirit of kinship with all of life.”
(April 25th, 2014)
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30th Anniversary of Associate Program
Medical Mission Sisters welcome 35 North America Associates to Philadelphia the weekend of May 1-4 for a 30th anniversary celebration of our Associate Program.  Coming from as far away as Washington State, these women and men are drawn to the vision, values and healing charism of the Medical Mission Sisters and make a commitment to live them within the context of their own lives and responsibilities.
(May 9th, 2014)
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Helping Children With Disabilities in Peru
Medical Mission Sisters in Peru are involved in COFARI (Community of Families and Comprehensive Rehabilitation), which helps children with disabilities.  It began in Arequipa, in the home of the mother of a child with cerebral palsy. Soon eight children were being helped.  Sister Patricia Gootee shares, “We are now offering professional counseling, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, psychology, speech therapy, balanced meals, and shuttle service to and from home. Most children come from families with low incomes.”
(May 22nd, 2014)
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Sister Katherine Baltazar’s Award
Medical Mission Sisters share the good news that our Sister Katherine Baltazar has been awarded the American Psychiatric Nurse Association’s (APNA) Psychiatric Nurse of the Year award for 2014.  This award recognizes an APNA member who demonstrates vision, perseverance, dedication, initiative and facilitation in the delivery of mental health services to individuals, families, and their communities.  Sister Katherine, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, has been in mission at the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation Hospital in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, since 2012.
(July 8th, 2014)
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Healing Arts Website
Medical Mission Sisters in North America have launched a new website about their healing arts ministries. Currently featured are the Integrative Health Care services of Sister Sheila McGinnis and the Creative Arts of Sister Mary Em McGlone. Through their ministries, each Sister shares ways to counter the negative impact of stress in our daily lives. Please visit this new site at www.healingartsmms.org
(August 8th, 2014)
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75 Years in Philadelphia
Medical Mission Sisters were joined recently by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap, in celebrating our 75 years in mission in Philadelphia. This special Mass and Reception, attended by Medical Mission Sisters from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America, also marked the beginning of the 90th year of our Society. In his homily at the Mass, the Archbishop spoke of the “virtue of anger” and of our Founder Anna Dengel’s own anger at the injustices she saw against women and children in North India in the 1920s that led to our founding. Keep living her anger, and yours, at what needs to be changed in our world, the Archbishop said.
(November 10th, 2014)
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Meet our members

Sister Marisol Martinez
Sister Marisol Martinez, our first Peruvian Medical Mission Sister, was born in 1966 and entered our Community in 1991. A kindergarten teacher by profession, she is responsible for our Anna Dengel Center in Arequipa, Peru, which provides needed pre-school education to close to 75 children while their mothers work to help support their families.  She also is very involved in Christian formation of the youth in Cristo Obrero Parish.  Sister Marisol regularly accompanies students from the Catholic University who volunteer to help the parish grade school children with their homework.  Twice a year these same students, under Sister’s direction, stay eight days in the pueblos outside Arequipa, offering basic health services and religious education.  Sister also assists with women’s organizations in the villages and, with Sister Pat Gootee, in Peru’s growing Medical Mission Sisters Associate Program.
(January 14th, 2014)
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Sister Mary Grace (Kenne) Froehlich
Sister Mary Grace (Kenne) Froehlich was born in 1939 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and entered our Community in 1958. After working in support services in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, she studied liberal arts at Temple University and then became a professional photographer. Sister Kenne did volunteer work with the International Red Cross for six years, helping Cambodian refugees in Aranyaprathet, Thailand. Since 1985, she has lived and worked in New Mexico, studying and then working as a physical therapy assistant. She currently lives with her sister, Annette, also a Medical Mission Sister, and does pulmonary rehabilitation work at Atrium Physical Therapy in Las Cruces.
(January 29th, 2014)
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Sister Speciosa Babikinamu
Sister Speciosa Babikinamu, a nurse-midwife and our first African-born Sister, entered our Community in 1966.  Since there was no Formation Program in Africa at the time, she made her Novitiate in India, then went to England for studies.  Sister Speciosa has spent almost all of her time in ministry in Uganda.  She is known far and wide in her homeland for her training and upgrading of traditional birth attendants, her involvement in community-based health care, and,  in recent years, for her pastoral presence at Mulago Teaching Hospital in Kampala.  “Over the years,” Sister says, “I have gained deep insights into the poverty of the sick person.”  In each one, there is “greater pain than meets the eye.”
(March 13th, 2014)
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Sister Maigualida (Mai) Riera
Sister Maigualida (Mai) Riera was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She was an active catechist and literacy teacher before she entered our Community in 1993 and became our first native-born Venezuelan sister. Now in Barquisimeto, Sister Mai works with Fe y Alegria, a primary and secondary educational program for the poor, coordinating a formation program for teachers at the regional level.  She also oversees the Formation/Integration of our members in Latin America.  Sister Mai shares: “Every time I look at or think about the history of Medical Mission Sisters, I am in admiration of the many ways we have found to be a Healing Presence in the midst of a wounded people…Within Fe y Alegría, I have had the opportunity to exercise my profession as an educator; to prepare myself to form others while at the same time being formed myself – it is mutual education and healing.”
(April 14th, 2014)
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Sister Gemma Mendes
Sister Gemma Mendes was born in Goa, India, in 1934 and entered our Community in 1954.  At Kurji Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Patna, she studied nursing, then worked at HFH, New Delhi, and HFH, Dacca, in Pakistan.  After additional studies in nursing administration, Sister Gemma returned to HFH, New Delhi, for several years.  Sister served as North India District Coordinator for our Community, then went to work among people of the Santal tribe in Chotanagpur.  For 25 years, she and another Medical Mission Sister were a healing presence among the villagers as they fought for justice against the powerful coal lobby that was overtaking their native land.  At the same time she helped care for the Santals’ basic health needs.  Sister Gemma is now a member of our Kasiadhi community, where she continues her health and justice ministry.
(May 22nd, 2014)
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Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck
Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck was born in Alberta, Canada. She earned a B.A. in Education from the University of Alberta with a focus on Special Education. In addition to working as a teacher in Alberta, Sister Lucy taught English in Katsina, Nigeria, and in in Pago Pago, Samoa. She worked for Volunteer International Christian Service (VICS) in Alberta from 1983-1988 before entering our Community in 1991 at the age of 37. Then Sister Lucy focused on holistic healing. As a certified massage therapist, she worked as a health education and wellness coordinator for three years in St. Petersburg, Florida. After a time at our Center for Human Integration in Philadelphia, in 1999 she founded the Camden Wellness Program in Camden, New Jersey. The program grew from one to five sites, providing health and education services to clients in one of the poorest U.S. cities. Sister Lucy now combines her healing work in Camden with the integration of new members into our Community in North America.
(June 12th, 2014)
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Associate Jane Blewett
Jane Blewett, who grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, became one of the first Medical Mission Sisters’ Associates in 1984. She had been a Canonical member of our Community for 25 years, serving as a medical records librarian in Pakistan and then in public relations in Philadelphia. She married Lou Niznik and worked for 13 years at an international social justice and peace center in Washington, D.C. In the mid-1980s she became acquainted with Thomas Berry’s “Great Work” and “the human/Earth dilemma and felt called to a deeper awareness in that area.” She has spent over 25 years helping to raise the consciousness within herself and others of our sacred evolutionary story and of Planet Earth’s need for healing for the well-being of the whole community of life. She resides in Sandy Springs, Maryland.
(July 8th, 2014)
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New Leadership Team in North America
At our recent Expanded Assembly of North America, Sisters Maria Hornung, Helen Lembeck and Pat Lowery were elected as the New North American leadership team to serve from 2015-2017. Sister Maria, currently Sector North America Coordinator for Mission and Membership, was elected to a second three-year term. Sister Helen, currently living in Chula Vista, California, has spent many years in business, administration and finance positions for our Community in Africa and North America. Medical Doctor Sister Pat served as a surgeon in hospitals in Ghana for many years and was chief surgeon on the Navajo Nation Reservation’s Fort Defiance Indian Hospital in Ft. Defiance, Arizona, for 14 years.
(September 10th, 2014)
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Sister Yumiko Nobue
Sister Yumiko Nobue was born in Tokyo, Japan, and raised as a Buddhist/Shintoist. She became a Christian when she was 18, then came to the U.S. in 1981 as an exchange student. In 1991, after studying veterinary medicine and teaching in a Japanese high school, she returned to the U.S. to study nursing at Catholic University of America, where she learned about the Medical Mission Sisters. Sister Yumiko entered our Community in 1995. Her first assignment was to our Holistic Health Center in Pune, India, where she returned after making her Final Vows in 2003. While in the Philippines preparing for Final Vows, she facilitated a course in foot reflexology for a group of massage therapists who are blind. In 2007, she was missioned to Mendipathar, North East India, and used her expertise in acupuncture, acupressure, massage and herbal medicine. Sister Yumiko is now based in Tokyo to care for her aging parents. She also is a teaching assistant at Sophia University and spends several months each year in Mendipathar doing vocation promotion.
(November 17th, 2014)
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