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2015 Archival Treasures


Healing Presence

“The People’s Parliament”
Medical Mission Sisters in East Africa share that a television station in Uganda is bringing attention to women’s issues through a program called, “The People’s Parliament,” recorded and aired in different rural areas of the country. Our African Sector Coordinator, Sister Therese Tindirugamu, says, “The program is aimed at conscientizing the people of Uganda towards women’s rights and covers topics including female genital mutilation, and women’s inheritance and ownership of land and property. Other women’s issues addressed are gender-based violence and maternal health care.
(March 2015)
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Suicide Prevention in South Dakota
Medical Mission Sisters advocate for health and wholeness for all individuals. In Eagle Butte, South Dakota, Sister Katherine Baltazar lives among the Lakota tribe, and is active in the youth suicide prevention team. Once unheard of among native peoples, youth suicide is a sad reality today. Since 2012, Sister has worked as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Cheyenne River Health Center. “My work is to provide healing resources in the form of treatment for those suffering from depression and anxiety,” she says. “Some of the problems underlying the high suicide rate are poverty, the lack of economic opportunities on reservations…and trauma from violence.”
(March 2015)
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Associate Commitments in North America
Medical Mission Sisters in North America celebrate the recent commitments of six Associate members. They come from Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington state. Making first commitments were Pat Coppinger, Mary Crane, Maureen Pryjma and Mary Anne Volk. Five-year commitments were made by Arleen Barlow and Nancy Kaye. These women join 42 other women and men in North America who, as Associates, share our Community values and commit themselves to live as a healing presence wherever they live and work.
(May 2015)
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Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s “Transition”
Our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter recently completed 34 illustrious years as Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality and Feminist Studies at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. She now will focus her energies on two programs she founded at the Seminary and continues to direct: the Women’s Leadership Institute and the Master’s Degree Program in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. It’s not a “retirement” for MT, but more of a “transition.”
(June 2015)
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Holy Family Hospital Mandar Milestone
Medical Mission Sisters in District North India have signed an “Agreement” with the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Society for Medical Education, North India, regarding the building of a Medical College on the grounds of Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Mandar where we have been in mission since 1947. Our Community will transfer 17 acres of land as a gift deed for the Medical College and will receive in return the wherewithal to build a new De-Addiction Center and Community residence. Medical Mission Sisters will continue to work in vital health and teaching areas of HFH Mandar and HFH Mandar School of Nursing. We also will continue our de-addiction, alternative health care and community health work, as well as our ecological farming among the rural people of the area who still live in great need.
(July 2015)
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“Latidos” Youth Music Group
Medical Mission Sisters in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, are working with local barrio residents to put an end to violence. One new program, started by Sister Maigualida Riera, is “Latidos,” a youth music group. In only four months, it registered over 100 participants.
(September 2015)
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Sister Elaine Kohls Honored in Ethiopia
Medical Mission Sisters share the good news of our Sister Elaine Kohls’ recent honor in Wolisso, Ethiopia. She was awarded a Certificate of Merit for her great contribution in providing water to people of the area. There are more than 140 tube wells which started as hand-dug wells under the leadership of Sister Elaine. Ensuring safe and clean water has long been an important part of her ministry. It has led to better health for thousands of women, children and men.
(September 2015)
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Taking Action to End Gun Violence
Medical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia are participating in an interfaith “T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost,” which is trying to raise public awareness of the tragic toll exacted by gun violence. The T-shirts displayed on our Northeast Philadelphia property bear the names of 207 persons killed by guns in the city in 2014. This is part of a national effort called “Taking Action to End Gun Violence.” Many passersby have asked about the Memorial and have added their voices to the many who advocate for peace in our world.
(October 2015)
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MMS in Support of the UN Climate Change Conference
Medical Mission Sisters are participating in the UN Climate Change Conference and its related activities around the world in a variety of ways. Two of our Sisters are at the Paris conference the first week it meets and three will take their places the second week.  A number of our Sisters and Associates joined thousands in London, Frankfurt and Washington, DC, over the weekend, in interfaith prayer gatherings, rallies and marches, to draw attention to the importance of reducing greenhouse gases for the sake of the health and life of our planet and all of its inhabitants.
(December 2015)
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Meet Our Members

Sister Goretti Poovathunkal
Sister Goretti Poovathunkal was born in Kerala, South India, in 1932. In 1953 she entered our Community. After Profession, she was assigned to work in the kitchen in the Novitiate in Pune, India. Over the next 35 years, Sister Goretti served our Community in many of our missions of North India, in charge of hospital dietary departments, gardens and farms. She then had a year’s mission experience in the Philippines. Sister helped to develop local leadership wherever she was in mission. During a time of renewal in 2001, she visited the U.S. and saw our Sister Margaret McKenna’s “New Jerusalem Now” ministry in North Philadelphia. She was strongly inspired to return to this mission to share her life with people struggling to recover from addiction. In 2003, after waiting, preparing, and praying for a year, she began mission at “New Jerusalem Now” and stayed for nine years. While living there she also became involved in justice work, especially advocating for affordable housing for those who are poor. In 2013, Sister Goretti repatriated to India. She now lives and provides assistance to our Holistic Health Center in Pune.
(September 2015)
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Sister Elly Verrijt
Sister Elly Verrijt was born and raised in De Peel, the Netherlands. After college she taught agricultural biology for several years in home economics training schools before she joined our Community in 1966. In 1969 she was missioned to Indonesia where she worked as a health education specialist for 12 years. After post-graduate training in public health nutrition at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta, Sister Elly served as a nutritionist in the slums of Surakarta and the villages of Central Java and worked with the local people for better health and living conditions. In 1986 she studied at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago and served in our Community’s formation and ongoing formation program for many years. After a live-in experience at Genesis Farm in New Jersey, she knew she had to follow her dream of opening a center for earth studies in the Netherlands. She founded “De Garde,” a center for Ecological Awareness and Spirituality in Udenhout in 1999. After 10 years she turned over the leadership of De Gaarde to a group of dedicated Earth workers. Sister Elly now is an international workshop/retreat leader in Ecological Spirituality and Awareness.
(July 2015)
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Sister Belaynesh Abera
Sister Belaynesh Abera was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After completing her education, she worked at the Cistercian Technical School, where she first met the Medical Mission Sisters. She made her First Vows in our Community in 1987. After pharmacy training, Sister Belaynesh worked at Attat Hospital, then moved to our community-based project in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. She now works for the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, coordinating its Justice and Peace Desk, which she set up in 2006. Sister Belaynesh’s work includes preparing and organizing seminars and workshops for religious and political leaders, teachers, parish youth leaders and laity council leaders. Within seven of the area Catholic schools, Sister Belaynesh has started Peace Clubs. She also has produced a guide book to help students explore issues of peace and justice. The enthusiasm and commitment of the young people is a great inspiration to her.
(July 2015)
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Associate Therese Connolly
Medical Mission Sister Associate Therese Connolly was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school in 1964, Therese entered the Medical Mission Sisters as a Canonical member. She studied at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1972. As a Canonical member for 27 years, she provided nursing services to the people of Ghana and Nigeria and was active in formation work. In 1997 she became one of our Associate members. Since the late ’90s, Therese has worked in a variety of nursing positions, including as a Mental Health Intensive Case Manager at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. She says, “It’s my heart’s desire that the beautiful healing charism of our Society influences how I live and all that I do. It is a way of being, not a thing that I do.” Therese recently assumed the role of Residential Care Coordinator for our Sisters in Philadelphia who need skilled nursing care.
(June 2015)
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Sister Senait Mengesha
Sister Senait Mengesha was born in 1961 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1981 she joined our Community and then made her First Vows in 1985. Her Final Vows were professed in 1993. Sister Senait attended school in Malawi and Ethiopia. After college, she worked in the public health department at Attat Hospital, focusing on women’s groups in the villages. Sister Senait then studied sociology and social administration at the University of Addis Ababa where she earned a B.A. degree. She worked in the Daughters of Charity Urban Development project in Addis Ababa for three years in a department for youth, elderly and disabled persons. In 2010 she was elected for a three-year term as our District Coordinator of Ethiopia. Upon completing a second degree, she joined the National Office of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat where she worked in the social rehabilitation unit in a project for and with orphans and vulnerable children. In recent years, Sister Senait has been working as the Social Rehabilitation and Development Coordinator at the National Ethiopian Secretariat. She is our Community representative at the UN office in Addis Ababa.
(November 2015)
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Sister Maggie Lupiya
Sister Maggie Lupiya was born in Malawi, Central Africa. After graduating from the Phalombe School of Nursing and Midwifery, she worked at an Anglican hospital. In 1991 she entered our Community. Sister Maggie made First Vows in 1994 and her Final Profession in 1999. Her first mission was to Malawi where she worked as a nurse-midwife at Phalombe Hospital, then taught typing to young girls from poor backgrounds. She also coordinated a life-altering microcredit project for poor widows. After taking community development studies specializing in rural development, Sister Maggie was assigned to Wolisso, Ethiopia, where she was in charge of the Public Health Department of St. Luke’s Hospital. Since 2011 she has been in Kenya, East Africa, serving as our East Africa District Treasurer and a formation team member for Sisters in Temporary Vows. Sister Maggie will be one of four Medical Mission Sisters who will be missioned to Malawi in July, 2015.
(March 2015)
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Sister Beate Glania
Sister Beate Glania was born in 1966 in Frankfurt, Germany. She has a Ph.D. in Theology (Pastoral Psychology) and served as a pastoral worker in a number of places and positions. After living for several years in an Ignatian spirituality community, she entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 2004 and made her First Vows in 2006. Sister made her Final Vows in 2010. At the Jesuit’s St. George University in Frankfurt, Sister Beate assists in the spiritual training of students of theology who want to become pastoral workers. She accompanies them through reflection groups, weekends for spiritual input, retreats and spiritual accompaniment. Since 2010 Sister Beate has been the Integration/Formation Coordinator for District Germany. In this area of service for our Community, she journeys very closely with both Canonical and Associate members.
(February 2015)
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Sister Marielena Ridad
Sister Marielena Ridad was born on the island of Negros in the Philippines in 1939. She earned a B.S. in Administration before she entered our Community in 1961. Her first assignment was to Germany to assist with the preparation of projects for international funding agencies. She soon returned to the Philippines and helped with vocation promotion work. Sister Marielena then began a decades-long journey with the people of Venezuela that continues today. She served at Hospital Coromoto in Maracaibo for several years. After it closed, she began living and working in the barrio. She helped form a Christian Communities Cooperative and a Center for the Socio-Political Formation. She also helped organize the first group of Medical Mission Sisters Associates in Venezuela. Sister Marielena has served as Sector Coordinator of Latin America and as a Chapter Delegate. She joyfully celebrated her Golden Jubilee last year among the people who claim her heart.
(January 2015)
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Sister Tomasa Martinez Flores
Sister Tomasa Martinez Flores was born in 1963 in Peru. By the age of 17 she knew she wanted to be a missionary. Interested in teaching, she studied at the Higher Education Institution of the Marist Brothers. After graduating, she worked in public schools for several years, taught in a secondary school, and was a supervisor of education, teaching professional skills. While taking part in the activities of the Diocese of Callao, Peru, she met the Medical Mission Sisters (MMS), and in 2005 began living in a MMS community. She entered our Community in 2008 in Callao, and made her First Vows in 2010. Sister Tomasa has a Master’s Degree and a license in education from the University of Peru.  In Callao, she is involved in technical education among both young people and adults. Sister Tomasa says she hopes to promote healing in all areas of education, coming from whatever needs she may meet, now and wherever she is in mission.
(December 2015)
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