Medical Mission Sisters are women full of passion…for wholeness, for justice, for life. Like our Foundress, Anna Dengel, M.D., “it eats us up” when individuals and communities are denied the resources and opportunities they need to live as human beings. It moves us to the core of our being when and where people are made poor, are oppressed or are overwhelmed with a sense of powerlessness.
In our broken, wounded world, Medical Mission Sisters are called to live as a healing presence. We try to bring about a world where all live in harmony and where no one is in want. We try to live as Jesus lived, with care and compassion for all.
A Community of dedicated women with over 500 Canonical members and 100 Associates, we share life and our own unique expertise with women, children and men on five continents today. We enter into their lives as partners, as peers, as friends. We work together with them to build one world, and be one world, where the gifts of all people, all cultures, all creation are affirmed and celebrated.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
–William Butler Yeats
Among Sister Vera Sheenan’s many cherished memories is that of her “very hospitable” mother, who often invited others into their home in Dunellen, NJ, to share their meal. “Who is he?” she remembers whispering when a little boy, possibly one of her brother’s playmates, joined them at the table.
Sister Vera recalls: “Nobody knew who he was, but he came in and had supper like everybody else had supper. That’s the kind of woman [my mother] was.”
She likes to hope that her mother’s generous spirit rubbed off on her. Entering MMS in 1955, Sister Vera trained as a community health nurse and worked in Holy Family Hospitals in both Techiman and Berekum, Ghana. She returned to the U.S. in 1979 and spent much of her time working with children, eventually joining three other Sisters to work in inner-city Philadelphia, where she volunteered at a childcare center.
Reflecting on her work with children, Sister Vera shares: “My goal was to let them crawl all over and get the affection and the individual attention that they may not have been able to get because the mother was busy.”
Now retired from mission, Sister Vera lives at our North American Headquarters and remains active in social justice advocacy.
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Medical Mission Sisters are an organization of Roman Catholic Sisters and designated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization by the IRS