Author Archive for Administrator – Page 3

Summer Jubilarians

scan0005Medical Mission Sisters around the world mark the anniversaries of 25 Sisters who celebrate their 60th, 50th and 25th Jubilees this August.  With a combined 1,285 years of service, we congratulate all who are celebrating in North America, India, the Philippines, Kenya and England.  Six Sisters mark their Diamond Jubilees, 18 Sisters mark their Golden Jubilees, and one her Silver Jubilee.  Another 22 of our Sisters celebrate their Jubilees in other months in 2016.

Caption: Congratulations to all Medical Mission Sisters who celebrate their special anniversaries this summer!

Sister Kathleen Fitzgerald


Sister Kathleen Fitzgerald was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.  After high school she became a registered nurse and served in the U.S. Army Nurses Corp during World War II, stationed in England.  She entered our Community after the war.  Her first mission assignment was Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Rawalpindi, Pakistan, as a nurse and then nurse midwife.  In 1955 Sister Kathleen returned to the United States to serve as our Postulant Mistress; she also subsequently served as Novice Mistress in South Shields, England, and in Lipa City, the Philippines.  In 1967 she began several years of nursing at Holy Family Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, then returned to HFH Rawalpindi, where she was Directress of the School of Nursing.  After returning to the U.S. in the early 1970s, she continued her education, receiving a B.A. in Health Sciences and Community Health Education, an M.S. in Pastoral Counseling, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Pastoral Counseling.  In 1992 she co-founded the Anna Center, a medical respite care center for homeless women in Washington, D.C.  From 1995 until 2008 Sister Kathleen accompanied hundreds of women in prison at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women in Jessup.  Her ministry included Myers-Briggs testing to help the women identify their strengths and weaknesses, especially important for their new lives after release.  Sister Kathleen now resides in Philadelphia where she is involved in a variety of support services  for our Community.

Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking at the DNC

Trafficking City HallMedical Mission Sisters are raising awareness of Human Trafficking at the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia.  Sisters Teresita Hinnegan, Sue Sopczynski and others will be distributing information at the Convention Center on Human Trafficking and safe housing for girls and women who have been prostituted.  Sister Mary Em McGlone helped with the initial poster art on Human Trafficking on display at bus shelters in Center City; Sister Sue led negotiations for their placement.   Sister Teresita states, “If you can raise the awareness enough and get enough people interested, they can work a change in systems that allowed this kind of violence to happen.” 

Caption: Medical Mission Sisters are present at the DNC to bring attention to human trafficking.

Sister Beate Harst

Bottrop community2Sister Beate Harst was born in Germany in 1961 and entered our Community in 1988.  Two years later she made her First Profession of Vows.  During her early formation years as a Medical Mission Sister, Sister Beate served as a nursing aide in a hospital and became interested in pastoral care for the sick.  In 1995, Sister Beate made her Final Vows, then went to Holy Family Hospital Techiman, Ghana.  From 1996 to 1999 she served there as a hospital chaplain. In recent years, Sister Beate has been living her mission of healing presence as a hospital chaplain in Bottrop, Germany.  Sister Beate’s work includes spending time with the hospital staff, listening to their needs and experiences.  In addition to ministering to the sick, the dying and the grieving, she also conducts workshops and accompanies individuals on their spiritual journey.   She shares, “My work is like holding a beautiful, colorful and precious stone in my hand. The people I am working and sharing life with are as colorful as the stone. Each life experience is so different. Each experience of sickness, of crises, of dying is so different.”

20 Years of Women’s Leadership Institute

244cb0fd-b9e9-48a8-ab44-c61fdf3f812aMedical Mission Sisters share the good news of the 20th anniversary of Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) at Hartford Seminary.  This Fall, WLI’s founder, our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter, will again lead women from different backgrounds and faith traditions through a nine-month journey of bonding, discovering and rebirth.  Sister MT says, “The strength of this experience-based program lies in its capacity to speak honestly to the deepest of needs, to listen to and affirm women wherever they are on their journey, and to offer a rich mix of theory and theology, prayer and practical application, as the basis for facilitating leadership, and as substance for transformative change.”

 Caption: Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter shown here with a 2015 WLI graduate.

“It Is Good for Us to Be Here: Catholic Religious Institutes As NGOs at the United Nations”

UNMedical Mission Sisters have been involved in the United Nation for over 25 years.  In the book It Is Good for Us to Be Here: Catholic Religious Institutes As NGOs at the United Nations, stories and experiences from Catholic Communities, including Medical Mission Sisters, are shared.  NGOs of Institutes of Religious Life have been the most influential faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations.  This collection of essays speaks to the moral and ethical consciousness they bring to the entire process of peace and development.  In this book, our current UN Representative, Sister Celine Paramundayil, shares, “We use every possible opportunity at the UN to raise the issues affecting people who live in poverty.”

Caption: “Involvement at the UN is an extension of the healing ministry of Medical Mission Sisters,” says Sister Celine. “The goal is to have a life of dignity for all human beings who are created in the image of God.”

Associate Therese Connolly

Connolly_Therese 6-16-12Medical 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 desiring to be a Canonical member. She studied at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1972.  For 27 years, she provided nursing services to the people of Ghana and Nigeria and was active in formation work.  After ending her Canonical Membership 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.”  Since early 2015, Therese has been the Residential Care Coordinator for our Sisters in Philadelphia in need of skilled nursing care.

Sisters in Mandar, India, Participated in Turnover Ceremony

news june 2016Medical Mission Sisters in Mandar, India, recently participated in the ceremony marking the official turnover of ownership of Holy Family Hospital (HFH) and Holy Family Hospital School of Nursing to the Catholic Bishops Conference of North India.  The Bishops Conference will develop them into a new medical college for North India.  Our Sisters have administered and overseen direction of HFH Mandar for the past 69 years and in these almost seven decades have served tens of thousands of persons.  Some Sisters will remain on the hospital and nursing school staff.  Others will continue and/or expand other Mandar ministries including a De-addiction Center, a Complementary Health Care Service, Community-Based Health Care and Organic Farming.

Caption: The banner displayed at the official turnover of ownership of HFH Mandar to the Catholic Bishops Conference of North India.

Sister Norys Navas

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Sister Norys Navas was born in Carona, Lara state, Venezuela.  At the age of 20, she moved to Barrio El Trompillo and became a member of an apostolic youth fraternity.  It was during this time that she felt very much a part of the Church and wanted to help provide jobs for young people.  She discovered a talent for making handicrafts (ceramic crosses, nativity figures, etc.) and gave workshops to young people, women and children.  In 1994 Sister Norys met the Medical Mission Sisters, and began participating in formation meetings, retreats and conferences that were held in Maracaibo and Caracas.  She joined our Community in Caracas, making her First Vows in 2001.  In Maracaibo Sister Norys studied special child care and taught handicrafts to women. She worked at Fe y Alegria School as a Pastoral Coordinator in Maracaibo and then as a Pastoral Coordinator for a school in Caracas.  Sister Norys later served in the Padre Machado Hospital among people with cancer and then at the Algodonal Hospital for people with AIDS.  It was here that she first learned massage and relaxation exercises in caring for patients.  In 2011, Sister Norys made her Final Vows.  Since 2014 Sister Norys has been in mission in Arequipa, Peru, where she works with the Community of Families and Comprehensive Rehabilitation (COFARI), an outreach program for children with disabilities and their families.

Prayers for our Sisters in Venezuela

DSCN5588Medical Mission Sisters in Venezuela ask for our prayers for the continuing hardships in life that the people among whom they serve, and so many other Venezuelans, are experiencing.  A State of Exception and Economic Emergency is now in place in the nation.  Almost all continue to be affected by the lack of food and medical supplies.  Some people have to wait in a queue for more than five hours for basic commodities, if there still are any to be purchased (at exorbitant prices) when they reach the front of the line.  Public offices are now open only on Monday and Tuesday and schools hold classes only two days a week.  This has been decreed “to help save water and electricity.”   Despite all this, “we continue to hope and dream,” our Sisters write.  “Hopefully actions which will help transform for the better will go along hand in hand with the dreams and hopes we share.”

Caption: Our Sisters in Venezuela continue to be a healing presence among people living in great need today.

Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck

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Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck was born in Canada in 1954.  She earned a B.A. in Education with a focus on Special Education from the University of Alberta.  Before entering our Community in Philadelphia in 1988, she worked as a teacher in Alberta; taught English in Katsina, Nigeria, and in Pago Pago, Samoa; and served with Volunteer International Christian Service (VICS) in Alberta.  After an initial period of religious formation, she moved into a ministry of holistic health. She became a certified massage therapist and worked as a health education and wellness coordinator for three years in Florida.  The needs then drew her to Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest and most violent cities in the U.S.  She lived and worked there for several years with another Medical Mission Sister, beginning “Camden Wellness” which provided health and education services to clients that otherwise couldn’t afford them.  For the past three years she and fellow holistic health practitioner and partner in mission, Fiona Hesketh, have been implementing a massage outreach program in the city called “Healing SPIRIT” (Strengthening People in Releasing The Impact of Trauma).  Sister Lucy says, “In low-key ways, our presence makes a difference.  And it is mutual.  We learn from each other — it is an exchange.  We grow together.”  She also is the Integration Coordinator for our Community in North America.

Sister Therese Tindirugamu (T.T.)

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Sister Therese Tindirugamu (“T.T.”) from Uganda has been our Sector Africa Coordinator for the past six years.  She first learned about Medical Mission Sisters when she completed a three-year training program in nursing at Virika Hospital in Fort Portal, Uganda.  In 1980 she entered our Community.  After making her First Vows in 1984, Sister T.T. studied midwifery and took advanced studies in religion, spiritual counseling and pastoral work.  Her first assignment was to Ghana, West Africa, where she spent three years working as a nurse at Holy Family Hospital, Techiman. For many years, Sister T.T. accompanied African women on their journeys toward becoming Medical Mission Sisters, first for our District East Africa, then for all of our Sector Africa.  She also served as the District Coordinator for East Africa. After serving two terms as District Coordinator of Medical Mission Sisters in East Africa, she coordinated justice and peace efforts for the Major Superiors of Religious Institutes in Uganda, and also gave retreats and on-going formation workshops throughout the country.  Sister T.T. now begins a new ministry in East Africa.

Associate Commitments Spring 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMedical Mission Sisters in North America celebrate the recent commitments of eight of our Associate members.   Making first commitments were Carole Roberti, Mary Taylor and Selena Wilson, OP.  Five-year commitments were made by Maureen Prjyma, Mary Crane, Pat Coppinger and Maryann Volk.  Mary Anne Crowley made her life commitment as an MMS Associate.  These women, from many different walks of life, share our Community values and commit themselves to live as a healing presence wherever they live and work.

Caption: Pat Coppinger, who made her five-year commitment as a Medical Mission Sister Associate, reads from Scripture at the Commitment Liturgy.

Celebrating 90 Years of Healing Presence–Newsletter

Click to read “Celebrating 90 Years of Healing Presence” newsletter

Sister Bina Stanis


Sister Bina Stanis, originally from Tamil Nadu, was raised in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and entered our Community in 1985.  She earned her Master’s degree in sociology and for many years has been involved with those in need at the grassroots level.  In Jharkhand, India, she has had a special ministry of justice among those who have been removed from their tribal homeland by the coal mining industry.  Sister Bina also is committed to the empowerment of indigenous people. She is involved with the Jharkhand Mine’s Area Coordination Committee, an alliance of communities fighting mining companies, so the people can hold onto their property and land rights. “For indigenous peoples all over the world, land is sacred,” says Sister Bina.  In addition to helping the indigenous people struggle to keep their homelands, she also helps them to meet their health needs. Sister Bina directs the activities of health centers in Kasiadhi, Horomocha and Lopongtandi, where the villagers built their own center after years of trying to access the government health facilities. Many now experience health and healing for the first time in their lives. Sister Bina, who celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 2012, was recently elected a North India Unit Coordinator for our Community.

Our New Society Leadership Team Takes Office

leadershipMedical Mission Sisters gathered in London, England, on April 17 for the transition of our international leadership.   Sister Irene Fernandez, pictured here at the ceremony, is our new Society Coordinator.  She is joined by Sisters Edith Dug-yi, Bernadette Rini Dwi (Rini), Rosemary Ryan and Maria Fernanda Ramirez Rivera (Mafe) as our new Society Leadership Team.  Sisters Agnes Lanfermann and Elizabeth Vadakekara now go on to new ministries in Germany and India respectively.  

Caption: Sister Irene Fernandez from India is our new Society Coordinator.

Sister Birgit Weiler


Sister Birgit Weiler was born in Duisburg, Germany, in 1958 and entered our Community in 1978.  She has spent more than 20 years living and working in Peru. Sister Birgit shares, “In Peru, I first worked in Arequipa and then for several years in Lima in parishes in poor peri-urban areas. Every day was and is for many families today a struggle for survival.” In Lima, she taught at the Jesuit University Antonio Ruiz de Montoya.  She then returned to Germany, where she wrote a thesis on social justice and the environment for her doctoral degree in intercultural theology at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt. Sister worked as a volunteer in the female prison in Frankfurt, mainly with women from Latin America. In 2012, she received the “Erwin Kräutler” award from the Catholic Faculty of the University in Salzburg, Austria. The award recognizes her studies and doctoral thesis on intercultural studies on creation and the cosmos vision of indigenous people in Peru.  Today, Sister Birgit works from Lima, Peru, as a theological adviser on issues of environmental justice, helping to generate criteria to guide the position and action of the Church in socio-environmental conflicts, especially in mining communities.

Associate Michelle Malo-Esposito’s Holistic Healing Ministry


Medical Mission Sisters’ Associate Michelle Malo-Esposito runs a wellness center with her husband Dr. Joseph Esposito, who is a chiropractor.  Some of the treatments of their Life Wellness Centre in Herndon, Virginia, include yoga therapy, chiropractic acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition.  Michelle, a registered yoga instructor and certified fitness professional, began her interest in healing in the 1980s and studied basic massage with our Sister Mary Em McGlone.  This work, she says, “inspired me to continue more study. I went on to develop my own style of working with therapeutic yoga and integrating it with massage therapy and clinical social work to help individuals along their healing journey.” Michelle, who made her Life Commitment as an Associate in 2013, says she enjoys meeting students in every stage of life and helping them to enhance their quality of life through the healing benefits of yogic arts. 

Caption: Michelle Malo-Esposito outside her and her husband’s Life Wellness Centre. For more information, visit

Sister Miriam Paul (Hanna) Klaus

Klaus_Miriam Paul 2

Sister Miriam Paul (Hanna) Klaus was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1928. She and her family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, when she was a child.  There she earned a Bachelor’s Degree and M.D. from the University of Louisville.  She entered our Community in 1957 after several years working at Harvard Medical School and Peter Brent Brigham Hospital in Boston.  Following a medical mission of seven years in Pakistan and in what is now Bangladesh, she returned to the U.S. and began lecturing in the Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning (NFP).  She also worked several years in St. Louis and then became Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Francis Hospital in Kansas. Moving to Washington, D.C., in 1978, she worked for two years as Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University and practiced as an obstetrician/gynecologist.  In 1980, Sister Miriam Paul became Executive Director of the Natural Family Planning Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and launched TeenSTAR (“Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility”), a program to educate young people about the value of sexual abstinence. She explains that TeenSTAR was designed as “a counterweight to the prevalent contraceptive inundation approach to youth, in an effort to stem the tide of teen pregnancy and abortion.” Today, nearly 56,000 students have graduated from TeenSTAR programs. Although Sister is no longer the Executive Director, she remains active in its many program components.

Associate Jorge Reyes Chang

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Associate Jorge Reyes Chang is our first Peruvian Associate.  Born and raised in Chimbote, six hours North of Lima, Jorge studied sociology in Lima and then became a journalist.  For more than 10 years he has been working with Medical Mission Sister Gisela Reich at ADEP, which provides educational audiovisuals especially for youth in the area.  Jorge’s specialty is leadership, conflict resolution, organization of groups, accompaniment and communication.  He also works with the Ministry of Education in its Ongoing Education program for teachers.  He shares, “To be well as we live with dignity means for me the same as saying we are healthy.  That is manifested in human relations, learning processes, organization, community work, civil participation and citizenship, self-esteem, communication with God and nature.  I think healing and wholeness is possible when we attend to all human dimensions, and get rid of all the remains of poverty, need and lack of rights.”  

60 Years of Holy Family Nursing School in New Delhi

Medical Mission Sisters mark the 60th anniversary of Holy Family Hospital Nursing School and College in New Delhi, India, this month.  With a strong public health and nurse-midwifery curriculum, the four-year nursing school program has been instrumental in educating thousands of women in professional, caring service to those in need of health care.

Caption: Sister Aquinas Hamilton in the 1970s teaching at Holy Family Hospital School of Nursing in New Delhi.

Journeying with Forced Migrants

UntitledMedical Mission Sisters journey with many persons who have been displaced from their homes and homelands due to natural disasters, political uprisings and as victims of trafficking.  In Germany, several of our Sisters work at a comprehensive health care service for homeless people in Frankfurt.  In the United Kingdom, Sister Rosalinda Moag has a very special ministry journeying with forced migrants. “The situation of forced migrants here in the UK is heartbreaking,” says Sister. She is a case worker for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) Detention Center Outreach program, a volunteer at Bakhita House for victims of human trafficking, and also assists Filipino migrants in their relocation struggles.

Caption: Last year, Sister Rosalinda (center) participated in a Refugee Tales Walk.  She shares, “After each day’s walk, well-known writers told stories or tales about refugees’ plight and longing…it was a pilgrim and sacred encounter (for me).”

Sister Michaela Bank


Sister Michaela Bank was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1943. She entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1966.  After studying economics, she became our General Treasurer and served in this capacity from 1974-1985. In 1986 she began a special ministry in Germany working with young people. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, she and our Sister Angelika Kollacks started a counseling center in Marzham-Hellersdorf, a low-income area of Berlin, in response to the tremendous needs they experienced among women of the former “East Germany.”  As therapists, they accompany women of all ages through crisis and difficult situations. Sister Michaela continues her involvement in finance as our District Treasurer of Germany.  She also serves as a member of the commission for women for the Bishops Conference where she works for equal rights in the Church.


2016 Winter Jubilarians


Medical Mission Sisters share the joy of 8 of our Sisters who mark special milestones this Winter. Seven celebrate their 60th anniversaries of Profession of First Vows and one Sister marks her 50th anniversary. From North America, India, and the Netherlands, these Medical Mission Sisters together have served nearly 500 years among those in need.

Caption: We congratulate our 15 Sisters around the world who mark their Jubilees this Winter.


“Breath of the Spirit” CD

Breath of the SpiritMedical Mission Sisters are pleased to announce that the second CD of the Five-Volume Sacred Folk Music Project has been released.  Entitled “Breath of the Spirit,” it includes 21 folk songs by our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter, sung by performing artists of many faith traditions.  The dedicated work of Dan Paulos, Director of St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his wonderful friends, “Breath of the Spirit” features Mack Bailey, Melba Moore, Elisabeth Von Trapp, Janis Ian, The Monks of Weston Priory, the Medical Mission Sisters and many more who gave their time and talent to this endeavor.  Medical Mission Sisters are most grateful to Dan Paulos for helping us to share God’s Healing Word in this special way.

To order “Breath of the Spirit” ($14.95 plus $3.00 postage and handling), E-mail:

Sister Rose Teresa Kujur


Sister Rose Teresa Kujur was born in Bihar, India, in 1960.  She entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1987, made her First Vows in 1990 and her Final Profession in 1996.  Sister Rose lived in North East India for a number of years, working with various cultural groups. In 2008 she moved to Patna, India, to minister in Kurji Holy Family Hospital and its many outreach services. Sister Rose Teresa served as coordinator of the hospital’s Community Development Center and was involved in vocation promotion for Medical Mission Sisters in North India.  Since the summer of 2015 she has been in ministry in Boynton Beach, Florida, at Women’s Circle, a non-profit organization established in 2000 by Medical Mission Sister Lorraine Ryan to help low income women achieve financial stability through education and job development skills training.



Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Sr-TeresitaMedical Mission Sisters participate in “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” (January) in many different ways.  In Philadelphia, Sister Teresita Hinnegan continues her decade-long efforts to help people in many areas of life learn more about human trafficking.  She is now working with a group to set up protocols to help hospital staff better identify the signs of women and girls who are being trafficked and what they can do to help these victims.  Statistics show that 70 % of trafficking victims visit a hospital for care, so it is an important site for awareness and assistance.

Caption: Medical Mission Sister Teresita Hinnegan continues her special mission of healing presence to women and girls who are victims of human trafficking.



Associate Chris Schenk

Chris Schenk

Associate Christine (Chris) Schenk was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1946.  She has master’s degrees in Theology from St Mary’s Seminary and Graduate School in Cleveland, and in nursing from Boston College.  From 1971-1977 she was a Canonical member of the Medical Mission Sisters.  When our Community’s Associate program began in 1984, Chris became one of its first members.  She says, “Associate membership is important to me for two reasons: it keeps me in contact with a group of fantastic women, from whom I’ve learned a lot in my life’s journey, and it helps me keep my awareness of a broader global world.”  In 1988, Chris joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph in Cleveland (CSJ).  She served urban families for 18 years as a nurse-midwife before co-founding FutureChurch in 1990.  FutureChurch was created to bring about a greater participation of laity, especially women, in the Church.  She received the FutureChurch Trivision Award for 23 years of service with the organization when she retired from her role as Executive Director in 2013. Chris currently writes a column for theNational Catholic Reporter’s online edition.


Membership in Africa

DSCN2200 Betty Nabuguzi, Sr. Rosemary Adhiambo, Catherine Ato and Sr. Margaret LupiyaMedical Mission Sisters begin the new year celebrating that we now have 33 African Sisters, eight African novices and two African postulants who have been accepted for candidacy.  Our Community in Africa also will welcome six women as pre-candidates in 2016.  Joining our African Sisters in mission in five nations on the continent today are 11 Medical Mission Sisters from Germany, India, the Philippines and North America.  It is a wonderful sign — and lived experience — of our internationality.





Sister Josephine Nafula


Sister Josephine Nafula was born in 1960 in Uganda.  Before entering the Medical Mission Sisters, she worked as a teacher and as a Diocesan administrative secretary for six years.  She made her First Profession of Vows in 1995 and her Final Vows in 2000.  Her first mission assignment was to Nangina Holy Family Hospital in Western Kenya where she was an administrative secretary and then Acting Hospital Administrator.  Sister Josephine studied at the Institute of St. Anselm, England, then served as a counselor/therapist there for five years.  She earned a Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and then a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in India.  After 15 years working outside her home country, Sister repatriated to Uganda and began working in ongoing formation, giving workshops/retreats to people from all walks of life.  Now Sister Josephine is involved in various activities in our Community including vocation promotion and serving as our District Coordinator for East Africa.

Sister Tomasa Martinez Flores

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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. 

MMS Honored with a Special Citation

DSCN1045Medical Mission Sisters have been honored with a special Citation from the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Passed unanimously by the legislators, it acknowledges our Community’s 90th anniversary and how our Sisters have lived the vision of our Founder Anna Dengel, MD, in helping to improve the health and welfare of people in need all over the world.  The Citation offers special congratulations for our past contributions to so many people and offers best wishes for continued success in the 18 nations in which we currently serve.

Caption:  Pennsylvania State Representative Thomas Murt presents the special Citation to North American Coordinator Sister Helen Lembeck.  In his remarks to the 50 Sisters assembled for the presentation, Representative Murt drew attention to the special gifts of compassion and hope that Medical Mission Sisters have shared with millions of women, children and men over the past 90 years.

New Sector Leadership Team

IMG_5878 (1)Medical Mission Sisters are pleased to announce that our Chapter Delegates meeting in India have chosen a new Leadership Team for our Community. Sister Irene Fernandez, currently our Sector Coordinator of Asia, is our new Society Coordinator and will begin her six-year term in early 2016. She will be joined in leadership by Sister Rosemary Ryan from the United States who is in mission in Boston; Sister Edith Dug-yi from Ghana who is District Coordinator of West Africa; Sister Rini Astuti, an Indonesian woman, who is our Sector Coordinator of East Asia; and Sister Maria Fernanda Ramirez from Colombia who is now Medical Mission Sisters’ Coordinator for Peru. Our thoughts and prayers are with each one as together they begin their new call in mission.

Caption: Medical Mission Sisters Rini Astuti, Irene Fernandez, Edith Dug-yi , Rosemary Ryan and Maria Fernanda Ramirez, our newly elected CommunityLeadership Team. 

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.

Thank You

thyouMedical Mission Sisters thank you for all your interest in and support of our mission of healing presence in 18 nations today.  If you are considering participating in “Giving Tuesday” on December 1, we would be grateful if you thought of us.  Click on the “Donate” button at the top right hand side of this page to make an on-line gift.  Thank you!

Sister Rosemary Ryan

Ryan_Rosemary_3Sister Rosemary was born in Madison, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school, she joined our Community in 1964. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Chestnut Hill College and her medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College, both in Philadelphia.  During her residency at Faulkner Hospital, a community-based teaching hospital in Massachusetts, Sister Rosemary helped start a hospice program. She then provided medical direction for the Faulkner hospice program and directed outpatient training for medical residents as a clinical instructor in medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.  Over the next 35 years, Sister’s responsibilities expanded as she served as a medical director for several hospice programs and also for the VNA Care Network home health agency.  Sister Rosemary served in several leadership positions within our Community including Eastern District Coordinator and North American Sector Coordinator for Mission.  For many years, she also has been a hospice medical director, serving in Boston and surrounding towns.  Sister Rosemary was recently elected as a member of our Community’s new leadership team and, beginning in the spring of 2016, will work alongside our Society Coordinator in London. 

MMS in Support of the UN Climate Change Conference

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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.

Caption:  Medical Mission Sisters Associate Jane Blewett marches in Washington, DC, carrying a banner that shares Pope Francis’s deep concern for our planet.

Associate Elly Naiko

Naiko_Elly, AssociateAssociate Elly Naiko was born in Makassar, Indonesia, in 1934. Elly first heard about our Community when she was in her mid-twenties. In 1985, she decided to become an Associate. While spending time with Medical Mission Sisters in Jakarta, Elly learned of a vacancy in our Fatima Hospital in Pare Pare. She served there for 10 years in various capacities, including supervision of the hospital kitchen and laundry. In 1995, after a visit to the Netherlands, she took part in the foundation of the social institution, Bina Keluarga Lansia (BKL) Pangngu’rangi in Makassar. Founded to accompany the elderly and help them and their relatives maintain family unity, a social life, and an active spiritual life, it grew to over 2000 elderly members over the next 10 years. Today Elly, a widow, has three stepchildren and 10 grandchildren and lives with her elder sister in Jakarta.

Taking Action to End Gun Violence

2015MemorialMedical 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.

Caption: Medical Mission Sisters Celine Paramundayil and Kathryn Gates hold the T-shirts bearing the names of two men killed by guns in Philadelphia last year.

MMS 14th General Chapter Begins

Agnes-lights-Chapter-CandleMedical Mission Sisters have begun our 14th General Chapter, a very special four-week meeting that occurs only once every six years. Chapter delegates from Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America now have come together in India to review our mission of healing over the past 6 years and to set directions and priorities for our healing presence through 2021. We pray with and for our delegates as our Community moves into the future in the spirit of our Founder, Anna Dengel.

Caption: Our Society Coordinator, Sister Agnes Lanfermann, lights the “Chapter candle” to officially open our 14th General Chapter.

Sister Jacinta Conlon

Conlon_Sr. Janinta ConlonHealing Presence
Sister Jacinta Conlon was born in 1923 in New Brunswick, Canada. She worked as a registered nurse before she entered our Community in 1958. After her First Vows in 1961, she was missioned to Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Mandar, India. In 1966, Sister went to Holy Family Hospital, Bombay, to study midwifery. When she returned to HFH Mandar, she taught in the nursing school and worked as a staff nurse until 1975. After a short time serving the sick in a nursing home in Ottawa, Sister participated in the care of our Founder Anna Dengel in Rome. When she returned to the U.S., Sister cared for our elderly Sisters in Philadelphia, then provided respite care in South Carolina and Florida for over 20 years. Since 2008, Sister Jacinta has lived in Philadelphia at our Community’s North American Headquarters where she volunteers in our Mission Development Center.

Our 90th Anniversary

downloadMedical Mission Sisters in 18 nations celebrate our 90th birthday on September 30. As our Founder, Anna Dengel, was “all fire and flame” when she realized she could do something to help women who were denied access to health care in North India in the early 1900s, today–in innumerable ways–we continue to be “fire and flame” for healing and wholeness. Our 550 Canonical members and 100 Associate members feel privileged to keep the fire burning, as we work for justice, wholeness and peace in a world in which too many persons still experience brokenness, suffering and pain.


Caption: Medical Mission Sisters at 90 recommit ourselves to carrying on the “fire and flame” of Anna Dengel, as we strive to be a healing presence among those in need through our lives and many ministries.

Sister Emma Panizales

Panizales_EmmaSister Emma Panizales was born in Cotabato, Philippines, in 1948. She entered our Community in 1973 and made her Final Profession in 1980. She was vocation promotion coordinator and a member of our formation team in the Philippines, living and working in slum areas of Metro Manila. It was there that Sister Emma began a life-long focus on justice and peace work. In 1983 she was missioned to Venezuela. Over the past 30 years, she has been very active with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Conference of Religious in the country and with the formation of young religious in the Theological Institute for the Education of Religious in Caracas. She served as our Sector Coordinator of Latin America from June, 2008 until May, 2015.

“Latidos” Youth Music Group

scan0024Medical 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.

Caption: Musicians and singers in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, who are part of the new group, “Latidos.”

Sister Goretti Poovathunkal

Poovathunkal_Goretti-2Sister 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.

Sister Elaine Kohls Honored in Ethiopia

IMG_1421Medical 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.

Caption: Sister Elaine Kohls has worked with local Ethiopian leaders to ensure a safe water supply for all.

North American Jubilarians 2015

45Medical Mission Sisters in North America celebrate the Jubilees of seven of our Sisters this year. We honor four Sisters marking their Diamond Jubilees and three who celebrate their Golden Jubilees. A special Mass at our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia recognized these Sisters’ service. Celebrating their 60th anniversaries of First Profession are Sisters Elona Stanchak, Ellen Hummel, Celine Bernier and Isidora Bollich. Sisters Barbara Ann Brigham, Eunice Cudzewicz and Helen Marie McGrath mark their 50th anniversaries. Combined, they have served nearly 400 years as a healing presence to those in need. Please join us in congratulations, prayers, and thanks.

Associate Jane Jones

Jones_Jane, Assoc-2Medical Mission Sister Associate Jane Jones was born in Kingston, Ontario. She went to McGill University in Montreal to study nursing, then became an elementary school teacher, graduating from University in Kingston. Jane worked as a nurse in Canada, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. During this time she met her husband. In Malaysia, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast, she worked mostly in education. She then returned to Indonesia. After reading our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s book The Singer and the Song, she felt an instant connection to our healing charism and our work for justice and peace throughout the world. This led Jane to Sister MT’s Women’s Leadership Institute in Hartford, Connecticut, and then to become a Medical Mission Sister Associate in 2005. Jane is the mother of two daughters, and also now a grandmother. She currently lives in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Of Associate life, she says, “The promise that I made in 2005 and that I continue to make each day, to live ‘as a healing presence at the heart of a wounded world,’ grounds me in the here and now and connects me to a world without boundaries.”

Women’s Circle Celebrates 15 Years

11709908_978259572238065_3769556818776906639_oMedical Mission Sister Lorraine Ryan founded Women’s Circle in 2000 with Sister Joan Carusillo, a Sister of the Holy Cross. A place for underserved women in Boynton Beach, Florida, it marks its 15th anniversary this year. Women’s Circle empowers women to be “all they can be,” while promoting an acceptance and appreciation of cultural diversity. It serves almost 300 women each year, offering classes in English, literacy, computer training, typing, sewing and knitting. It also provides job development services, including career advice, interview techniques, clothing for interviews and support group activities. All services are offered free of charge.

Caption: Sister Lorraine Ryan, co-founder of Women’s Circle in Boynton Beach, Florida, reviews plans for an enlarged facility.

Sister Mariotte Hillebrand

Hillebrand_Mariotte_12Sister Mariotte Hillebrand was born in 1977 in Bad Waldsee, South Germany. She studied theology and social work at Benediktbeuern, Bavaria; Lyon, France; and in Frankfurt, Germany. Sister Mariotte entered our Community in 2006 and her made First Vows in 2008. In the summer of 2012 she was missioned to Taizé, France, and worked with another Sister with a small group of youth from France and from Eastern Germany. In 2013 Sister spent several months with Medical Mission Sisters in Hajipur and Patna, North India. Currently Sister Mariotte serves as a pastoral assistant in a poor and multi-ethnic area of Frankfurt. She also responds to projects like “school fit” where she helps underprivileged children with their education needs. On Easter Monday of this year, Sister Mariotte made her Final Vows as a Medical Mission Sister.


Holy Family Hospital Mandar Milestone

scan0021Medical 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.

Caption: One of our Sisters, Benedicta Soreng, caring for a child at HFH Mandar.

Sister Belaynesh Abera

Abera_Belaynesh-4Sister 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.