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Archive for Archives – Page 2

Helping Children With Disabilities in Peru

cofariMedical 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.” 

 

Caption: Sister Patricia Gootee (center) with children served by COFARI.

Sister Gemma Mendes

Mendes_GemmaSister 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.

30th Anniversary of Associate Program

Associate commitment 049Medical 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.

 

Caption:Associates Rita Maute (left) and Ray Mattern (right) made their First Commitments in 2012.

Sister Joan Barina

Barina_JoanSister Joan Barina was born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1929.  She worked at St. Luke’s Hospital, and at the University of California, before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1961. Her first assignment in our Community was as chief technologist at Holy Family Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  She then served as Holy Family Hospital’s chief technologist in Patna, India, where she also started a medical laboratory school.  When she returned to the U.S. in 1973, Sister Joan worked as a medical technologist with the Public Health Service of California, earned an advanced degree in microbiology, then joined the staff of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. In 1979 she began what became over 30 years of ministry in religious education and pastoral work with Mercy Sister Joyce Ross on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.  Both Sisters co-authored a book about their experiences, A Journey with the Real Church: Faith in the Last Frontier.  Today Sister Joan and Sister Joyce are in mission with the Mercy Sisters in Albany, New York.      

Earth Day 2014

News April 21Medical 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.”

 

Caption:Sister Anne Bellosillo founded and directs HEAL, the Haven for Ecological and Alternative Living, in Villasis, the Philippines, where hundreds of persons each year learn more about living with care and respect for the whole community of life.

Sister Maigualida (Mai) Riera

Mai 1Sister 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.”

Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s Audiobook

mt_and_janis_ianMedical 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

 

Caption:Janis Ian and our Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter share their joy at the release of the audiobook version of Sister’s autobiography, “The Singer and the Song: An Autobiography of the Spirit.” 

Sister Lorraine Ryan

Ryan_LorraineSister Lorraine Ryan was born in Brooklyn and raised in Illinois. She entered our Community in 1958. After First Vows, she earned degrees in medical record science and nursing.  Later she received a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.  Sister worked over 15 years in India as a nurse, counselor, diocesan coordinator of health services and public health specialist.  She then moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, to care for her sick parents.  After several years of counseling teens with chemical dependencies, in 2000 Sister Lorraine started Women’s Circle with Holy Cross Sister Joan Carusillo.  Located in Boynton Beach, it now has helped hundreds of lower-income women develop the skills they need to get life-supporting jobs.

Justice Ministries in Ethiopia

News March 14 2014Medical 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.

 

Caption: Sister Belaynesh Abera, who heads the Peace and Justice Desk of the Archdiocesan Catholic Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leads a justice workshop.

Sister Speciosa Babikinamu

Babikinamu_SpeciosaSister 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.”

National Catholic Sisters Week

scan0002Medical 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.

 

Caption: Sister Isidora Bollich offers comfort and healing prayers to many who are sick or troubled.

need.

Associate Marian McDonald

Haiti_iphonen_photos_465-1Doctor Marian McDonald, a Medical Mission Sister Associate, was born in Berlin, Germany, and raised in Media, Pennsylvania.  Now a surgeon and certified master of breast surgery, her involvement with our Community began in 1987 when she served with us in Georgia as a lay volunteer.  Marian also worked with our Sisters in Ghana and each year volunteers her time and shares her expertise and compassion in Haiti.  In 2013, she made her Life Commitment as a Medical Mission Sister Associate, sharing with all at the celebration, “I am indeed a wounded yet gifted healer, and via the Medical Mission Sisters, am being made aware of the connectedness of each others’  lives, attentive to the call of the spirit in every patient I see.  I deeply desire…to bring healing to our world.”

Our Jubilarians

DSCN0430Medical Mission Sisters share the good news that 16 of our Sisters mark special milestones this February and March.  Eleven celebrate their 60th anniversaries of Profession of First Vows, one Sister marks 50 years and four 25 years since their First Professions.  From North America, India, the Netherlands and Germany, these women together have served 810 years among those in need.

 

Caption: Our 16 Jubilarians this year come from North America, India, the Netherlands and Germany.

Sister Nigist Biru

Beru_NigistSister Nigist Biru from Ethiopia, who made Final Vows in our Community in 2013, graduated from nursing school before she entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 2003.  Her first mission was to Attat Hospital, in Attat, Ethiopia, working as a ward nurse and in charge of voluntary counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS.  She and other hospital workers registered over 500 people, and were supported and guided by staff at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. in developing the best line of treatment for those with HIV/AIDS. Sister Nigist now works in the Outpatient Department of Attat Hospital and also oversees its Nutrition Unit. In the local parish, Sister is involved with young people and a women’s sewing group, whose profits go into an education fund for the youth.

Caregivers Workshop

Sr. Sheila stress reduction workshop and techniques 008Medical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia announce a “Caregivers Workshop” to be held Saturday, February 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at our North American Headquarters, 8400 Pine Road in Fox Chase.  Sister Sheila McGinnis, a nurse and holistic health practitioner, will help caregivers learn how to take care of themselves so they can continue to be the loving caregivers they want to be.  For more information and to register, contact: sheilamcgmms@cs.com

Caption: Sister Sheila McGinnis demonstrates techniques to help manage stress.

Sister Mary Grace (Kenne) Froehlich

Froehlich_KenneSister 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.

Growing Membership in Sector Africa

2_New_Candidates_0Medical Mission Sisters in Africa begin the new year celebrating their growing membership.  There are now 12 Sisters in Temporary vows, 7 Novices or Candidates, and 4 more women becoming Pre-Candidates throughout our Sector Africa.  Responding to their own individual call to be a healing presence in the community of life, these women come from Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

Left to right: Second-year Novice, Sister Betty Nabuguzi, with Sister Rosemary Adhiambo Oyusu, our Sector Africa Candidacy Coordinator. 

Sister Marisol Martinez

IMG_9421Sister 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.

Christmas 2013

christmas web 1Medical Mission Sisters in mission in 17 nations pray that the gifts of light and peace will come to our world in a special way this Christmas.  May God’s gift of unending and unconditional love for us, celebrated throughout this season, guide us in our life journies as human beings.

 

 

Sister Sheila McGinnis

McGinnis_SheilaSister Sheila McGinnis entered our Community in 1956 after graduating from high school in Troy, New York. She became a nurse and nurse-midwife, then was missioned to Holy Family Hospital in Quinhon, South Vietnam.  When she returned to the U.S., Sister Sheila was involved in the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees.  She then joined the staff of our Center for Human Integration (CHI) in Philadelphia, which offered a  variety of programs and client services to facilitate healing.  After a six-year term as North American Sector Superior, she served as Co-Director of CHI until its close in 2008.  Sister Sheila’s current ministry, Healing Space, grows out of her conviction of the oneness of body, mind and spirit.  “As you attend to any one of these needs,” she says, “you attend to them all.” Sister doesn’t call herself a healer but says she facilitates healing within a person “and they do the work.”

Ministering to Persons Who Are Homeless

newsMedical Mission Sisters serving persons who are homeless in Frankfurt, Germany, recently marked the 20th anniversary of Elisabeth Street Homeless Surgery where they work. Acknowledging that 100 million women, children and men in our world are homeless today, the Sisters traveled to London for a professional exchange with persons working in the field of homelessness there.

Photo: A London poster entitled “Feet on the Street” focuses on the importance of good foot care for those who live on the street.

Sister Maria Goetzens

Goetzens_Maria_100Sister Maria Goetzens was born in 1959 in the western part of Germany. During her medical studies, she worked among marginalized people at the Medical Mission Sisters’ hospital in Bongao, the Philippines.  After this experience, she entered our Community in 1983 in her homeland.  Sister Maria’s ministry as a doctor has included care for AIDS patients, for those who are terminally ill and for persons who are homeless.  Under her management, the Elisabeth-Strassenambulanz has become a comprehensive health care service for homeless people in Frankfurt.  Because of this and her other tireless work to improve the health care system in her country and community, in 2009 Sister Maria was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit—the highest award Germany gives to non-politicians.  Sister has served in Community leadership since 2001, first as District Coordinator of Germany and currently as Sector Coordinator of Europe.

World AIDS Day 2013

News photo AIDSMedical Mission Sisters have long reached out to those with HIV/AIDS.  On December 1,
World AIDS Day, latest figures show 35,000,000 people now living with HIV.  3.3 million are under 15. Even with increased availability of anti-retrovirals, in 2012,  1.6 million persons still died of AIDS.  Toward an end to HIV/AIDS in our world, we continue offering hands-on care to those affected, teaching how to prevent HIV/AIDS, working with AIDS orphans, training caregivers and counselors, and being present in a healing way as “buddies” to those who suffer with AIDS.

Photo: Sister Christine Kivungi, left, ministers to AIDS orphans and children infected with HIV in Ang’iya, Kenya.

 

Sister Rose Kershbaumer

Rose KershbaumerBorn in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Sister Rose Kershbaumer entered our Community after graduating from Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing in Philadelphia.  She was certified as a nurse-midwife at Catholic Maternity Institute in Santa Fe, then served as a nurse and administrator at our hospitals in Berekum and Techiman, Ghana.  Sister Rose received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania (U of P) and a Master’s Degree in Education and a Doctorate from Columbia University.  Her passion for nurse-midwifery has led to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Kenya and Malawi; the Peace Corps; the Rockefeller Foundation; and U of P’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership.  She also has served on our North American Leadership Team.

Typhoon in the Philippines

typhoon_187437506_620x465Medical Mission Sisters in mission in and from the Philippines ask for our special prayers as their people recover from the worst typhoon ever to hit land.  While total loss of life and destruction is still being estimated, the Filipino people–women and men of great faith–are doing what they can to recover.  Three of our Sisters are actively involved with them as they cope with their tremendous losses.  If you can help their efforts with a monetary gift, please use our “Donate” button at the top of this page and indicate: Philippine Disaster Relief.

Photo:  A woman grieves the loss of her child in super typhoon Haiyan.
Credit: Noel Celis, AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

54th General Assembly

Prague_and_Vienna_040Medical Mission Sisters in leadership in Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and at our General Level are currently meeting in Callao, Peru, at our 54th General Assembly (GA).  This once-a-year, three-week gathering is a special time for international sharing and planning for our worldwide mission of healing.  We ask your prayers for the success of this important Medical Mission Sisters’ meeting.

Photo: An ancient symbol of healing still means hope for the very many who are in need in our world today.

Sister Pauline Sadiq

Sadiq_PaulineSister Pauline Sadiq was born in 1964 in Sindh, Pakistan.  She trained as a nurse-midwife at Holy Family Hospital, Karachi, then entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1992. In 2000, she was assigned to Bagulin, in the Philippines for two years. This experience gave her an appreciation for her own values, traditions and culture, as well as a respect for the values, traditions and culture of others. She returned to Pakistan and a year later made her Final Vows.  Over the past 10 years, Sister Pauline has served in our dispensary in Faisalabad, helped start an international community of Medical Mission Sisters in Lahore focused on community health, and offered special care to Pakistanis affected by terrible flooding in the nation.  Last year she was chosen our District Coordinator for Pakistan. 

World Food Day

newsoct14Medical Mission Sisters join the worldwide community of justice seekers by marking World Food Day on October 16.  It is estimated that 842 million people are hungry in our world today. That translates to 1 in 8 persons not having enough food for an active, healthy life. This year’s World Food Day theme, “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition,” looks at the long term.  For there to be healthy people in our world, there have to be healthy food systems.  And for there to be healthy food systems, nations, local communities and individuals must all work together.  In Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, we are part of that effort.  As long as any child, woman or man has to go without food, World Food Day needs to be an every day not a once-in-365-day observance.

Photo: A woman in Africa works hard to attain food security for her family and for her local community.

Sister Janet Gottschalk

janethealingpresenceoctSister Janet Gottschalk, a Chicago, Illinois, native, has served as a nurse, administrator, teacher, lecturer, community leader and author.  Celebrating the 62nd anniversary of her Profession of Vows this year, she is well known throughout the Americas as an international public health specialist and strong advocate for justice.  Sister served in hospitals in Venezuela and helped pioneer Texas A & M’s university program of nursing education in Laredo, Texas.  She also was the first Medical Mission Sister representative to the United Nations.  For several decades now, Sister Janet has directed our Community’s “Alliance for Justice Office” in Washington, D.C.  Among its current foci of attention are border/immigration issues, trade and investment, and water and extractive industries.

Foundation Day

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREMedical Mission Sisters celebrate the 88th anniversary of our founding on September 30.  In 1925, Doctor Anna Dengel joined Mary Evelyn Flieger, R.N., Joanna Lyons, M.D., and Marie Ulbrich, R.N., in Washington, D.C., and our Community began.  In the last 88 years, our Sisters have shared their many gifts of healing and have made a difference in the lives of millions of individuals.  Today we live our mission of healing presence in 17 nations around the world.  In addition to our 600 Canonical members, we have close to 100 Associate members.  Anna Dengel’s vision of professional, compassionate care of persons in need continues to live on in each member of our Community in countless settings worldwide.

Photo: As we celebrate our 88th anniversary, we are thankful for all who have made our mission possible.

Sister Edith Dug-yi

Edith_Dug-yi-4Sister Edith Dug-yi was born in Ghana, West Africa, in 1956. Before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1991, she worked as a public health nurse for 10 years. In the past 20 years, Sister has been in mission in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya, she served in formation ministry for seven years. Sister Edith returned to Ghana in 2010 and soon joined the staff at the Center for Spiritual Renewal in Kumasi.  Begun by Medical Mission Sisters Ellen Hummel and Jean Salgot, and a Missionary of Africa priest, the Centre has had a pivotal role in the formation of African Christians since the early 1970s.  Recently Sister Edith was elected our Community’s District Coordinator for West Africa.  She has begun combining this important internal ministry with her special spiritual formation ministry at the Centre for Spiritual Renewal.

International Day of Peace

Imagenes_mayo_2008_023[1]Medical Mission Sisters join our sisters and brothers around the world in marking September 21 as the International Day of Peace.  Begun by a United Nations resolution in 1981, this day focuses the attention of the entire world on peace and our own responsibility for peacemaking.  The Medical Mission Sisters’ UN representative, Sister Celine Paramundayil, shares that, at a UN High Level Forum for Peace in early September, Anwarul Chowdhury, the former Ambassador of Bangladesh, spoke about the many examples of violence, war and aggression in our world, and reminded participants that Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Photo: Medical Mission Sister Maigualida (Mai) Riera leads the prayers of intentions at a special Mass in Venezuela for all those affected by violence.

Sister Jean Amar

NewSister Jean Amar, a native of the Philippines, earned her B.S. degree in Commerce (Accounting) from the Colegio de San Agustin de Bacolod in 1984. She then worked as a community organizer with sugar cane workers on Negros Island, her birthplace, before entering our Community at 27.  Sister Jean’s first mission assignment was in the Prelature of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur, where she journeyed with young people, farmers, and community health workers. She also spent several years in mission in Bongao.  In 2006, Sister Jean became part of our new international community in Lahore, Pakistan.  When floods devastated a large area of Pakistan in 2010, she was involved with relief efforts. She now coordinates diocesan youth ministry, is active with a Filipino Community in Lahore, and works as an administrative assistant in the seminary.

Integration/Formation Meeting

news sept 9

Medical Mission Sisters involved in the ministry of formation/integration of new members into our Community recently met in Nairobi, Kenya, for a two-week meeting.  Subtitled “Journey of an Emerging Future,” the international meeting looked back at our Founder Anna Dengel and her special call to mission.  Participants also affirmed the importance of “being present” to the many realities of persons as we move into the future together.  “Communication, collaboration, and networking with all who work for the same purpose contribute to witnessing to the divine promise of healing and wholeness for the Earth through all times,” shared our Society Coordinator Sister Agnes Lanfermann.

Photo: Facilitators of our International Meeting of Formation/Integration Personnel: Sisters Agnes Lanfermann, Irene Fernandez and Edith Dug-Yi.

Sister Joan Foley

Foley_Joan-1After living in Massachusetts, then, Virginia, Sister Joan Foley entered our Community in 1954 after college.  She was trained as a medical technologist and spent 13 years in Pakistan where she began a school for lab technicians and also served in hospital administration and leadership for the MMS.  In 1974 Sister Joan returned to the U.S. and became involved in primary health care and community development work among low-income people in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  She founded “Connections,” a job development and placement program in New Port Richey, Florida, and was a strong advocate for those who were homeless.  She also has served in a number of leadership roles for Medical Mission Sisters in North America.  Sister Joan’s most recent pioneering effort was reorganization of the MMS Thrift Shop in Philadelphia, whose six-day-a-week ministry she oversees.  For more information about our Thrift Shop, see www.mmsthriftshop.org

Kurji Holy Family Hospital Celebrates 100th Graduation

nursing Service Director talking to the Patient on her routine roundsMedical Mission Sisters recently marked the 100th graduation ceremony of Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna, India.  Graduates included 50 general nurse-midwifery students and 25 auxiliary nurse-midwives.  Through the years, Kurji Holy Family graduates have worked in many areas of nursing, including general surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and cardiology. They have had a great impact on the health of thousands of persons, not only in India, but also around the world.  Medical Mission Sisters opened the hospital in 1939.  Today we partner in administration of it with Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

Photo: At Kurji Holy Family Hospital, Patna, India, as in many other health settings around the world, nurses trained by our Sisters and staff provide professional and compassionate care to thousands of persons in need.

Sister Rozlin Kullu

Kullu_RozlinSister Rozlin Kullu was born in 1980 in Orissa, India.  She entered our Community in 1999 in Pune and received her degree in Pharmacy during her years of formation/integration.  Sister Rozlin made her Final Vows as a Medical Mission Sister in 2011.  Currently, Sister serves as a pharmacist at Kurji Holy Family Hospital and as local Assistant Coordinator.  She reaches out to help those who can’t afford their medication.  Sister Rozlin also enjoys activities in her local parish and in “keeping up” with fellow MMS attendees of our “Gathering of Newer Members,” held in North America last summer.

Celebrating 50 Years In East Africa

woman_with_babyMedical Mission Sisters celebrated 50 years of healing presence in East Africa in July.  In our ministries in Uganda and Kenya these past five decades, we have served in hospitals and health centers, trained community health workers and helped upgrade the skills of traditional birth attendants, reached out to thousands affected by HIV/AIDS, increased health awareness in cities and villages, and shared God’s love for all persons.  We rejoice in our 50 years of service among the people of East Africa!

Photo:  This mother and child are among the thousands who have come closer to health because of the Medical Mission Sisters’ healing presence in East Africa over the past 50 years.

Sister Agnes Lanfermann

healing presnece agness lanfermannSister Agnes Lanfermann, our Society Coordinator, was born in Kirchhellen, Germany, the eldest of 10 children.  She studied philosophy and theology in Germany, then spent time as a volunteer, aiding street children and persons who were handicapped, imprisoned and suicidal in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.  Agnes entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1981, and has since offered her healing presence by accompanying persons on their spiritual journeys, by assisting with the integration of members into our Community, by teaching theology and mission spirituality in the university and other educational venues, and by providing leadership to our District Germany, Sector Europe and now our entire global Community.  She lives in London, but spends much of her time “on the road,” sharing her special call to mission with our Sisters throughout the world.

Mission Green

Mission Green

 Medical Mission Sisters are partnering with Inglis, a 136-year-old non-profit provider of services and housing for persons living with disabilities, in a project named Mission Green.  The Groundbreaking for Mission Green, a 61-bed, fully accessible residence for persons over 55 with limited income, took place June 21 at our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia.  Ten resident rooms will be reserved for seniors with significant disabilities.  All other units will be fully accessible.  It is hoped that in early 2015 Mission Green will welcome its first residents.

 

Photo:  At the Groundbreaking for Mission Green…Sister Frankie Vaughan, Project Director for Medical Mission Sisters; Gavin Kerr, President and CEO of Inglis; and Holly Glauser of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Sister Patricia Lowery

Pat Lowery healing photo

Sister Patricia (Pat) Lowery was born and raised in Chicago and entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1959.  After medical school in Washington, D.C. and a surgical residency and two years of practice in New York, she began what became over 20 years of medical service to the people of Ghana, West Africa.  In addition to performing needed surgeries, Sister Pat taught surgical residents and shared her expertise through consultancy services with six Church-related hospitals in Ghana.  Since 2000, Sister has been Chief of Surgical Services at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital in Fort Defiance, Arizona, serving members of the Navajo nation.

Celebrating 40 Years in Peru

 

newsjune82013Medical Mission Sisters celebrate 40 years of healing presence in Peru in June, 2013. Since 1973, we have been privileged to live and serve among a wide variety of people in cities, towns and isolated villages.  Among our many ministries in Peru have been: parish health clinic services, social work assistance, pre-school and after school education programs for children, pastoral work, care of persons affected by HIV/AIDS, skills training for women, university education and special services to children with disabilities.  Blessings on all who have shared life with us these past four decades!

Above photograph: Sister Patricia Gootee from Loogootee, Indiana, was the first Medical Mission Sister to live and work in Peru.

Sister Therese Tindirugamu

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASister Therese Tindirugamu, our Sector Africa Coordinator, was born and raised in Uganda.  A nurse before she entered our Community in 1980, she later studied midwifery and took advanced studies in religion, spiritual counseling and pastoral work.  For many years, Sister Therese accompanied African women on their journeys toward becoming Medical Mission Sisters, first for our District East Africa, then for all of our Sector 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.  Affectionately known as “TT,” Sister Therese lives in Kampala, Uganda.

MDG Momentum

Medical Mission Sisters’ representative to the United Nations, Sister Celine Paramundayil, shares that there now are less than 1000 days until News photo may 7the 2015 year-end deadline date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  While much has been accomplished toward reaching the goals set to eradicate poverty and hunger, improve health, and give everyone access to a basic education, there still is much to be done.  An “MDG Momentum” is currently underway to accelerate the action needed to create a more just and healthy world for all.

Above photograph: Improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are two of the MDGs that Medical Mission Sisters have long addressed.

Sister Christi Kancewick

Sister Christi Kancewick, MeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmbership Promotion Coordinator of the Medical Mission Sisters in North America, is a Chicago-born physical therapist with a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies and additional studies in Spiritual Direction.  In addition to her special ministry in our own Community, Sister Christi participates in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), the Alternatives to Violence Project and volunteers at Covenant Home.  Close to her heart is a parish program in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, where she helps teens and young adults explore life issues. Healing mission for me comes from my relationship with God. It is about significant relationships with everyone who crosses our path, and having inclusive relationships in ‘every day ways,’ she says.

Sister Maria Fernanda Ramirez Rivera (Mafe)

Medical Mission Sister Maria Fernanda Ramirez Rivera (Mafe) is beginning her fifth year as co-coordinator of a special health care program for chilMafe newsdren, especially those living with disabilities, in Pachacutec, an area of extreme poverty in Peru.  A pediatrician, Sister Mafe provides needed health care and special rehabilitation therapies to little ones with cerebral palsy, autism and other complex syndromes.  She and her co-coordinator, a Passionist Sister, “can see that it makes a big difference for children and their families.”  Earlier this year, Sister Mafe, who is from Colombia, made her Final Vows as a Medical Mission Sister. 

Above photograph: Sister Mafe with Jean Franco Arellano, one of the children who inspired the program for children with disabilities in Pachacutec

A Gathering of the Next Generation

Click to read A Gathering of the Next Generation Newsletter

Sister Eunice Cudzewicz

Healing Presence

As editor of the Medical Mission Sisters’ Intercontinent, an internal publication that helps enrich communications and community among Medical Mission Sisters and Associates worldwide, Sister Eunice Cudzewicz, MMS, is always encouraging others to live “the sacred dance” within them. Born and raised in Chicago, she finds the world of communications a very rewarding one. Helping others to articulate their own special expression of a mission of healing presence helps all to learn more of the wonder of God.

Sister Patricia Patton

NEWS
Sister Patricia Patton, from Tarrytown, NY, recently returned to North America after 52 years of healing presence in Africa, 42  among the Maasai people of Kenya.  A nurse-midwife, she served as administrator of Loitokitok Hospital at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Then Sister Pat started a community-based health care program for the Maasai people that included simple but very effective health education in the village bomas.  In recent years she journeyed with the members of FRIFAT–Friends Fighting AIDS Together–a support group of HIV-positive persons who help each other to live full, happy and productive lives.

Above photograph: The women of Loitokitok dressed Sister Pat in traditional Maasai attire for her Kenyan farewell party.

Sister Patricia Patton Returns to North America

Sister Patricia Patton, from Tarrytown, NY, recently returned to North America after 52 years of healing presence in Africa, 42  among the Maasai people of Kenya.  A nurse-midwife, she served as administrator of Loitokitok Hospital at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Then Sister Pat started a community-based health care program for the Maasai people that included simple but very effective health education in the village bomas.  In recent years she journeyed with the members of FRIFAT–Friends Fighting AIDS Together–a support group of HIV-positive persons who help each other to live full, happy and productive lives.

Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck

Sister Lucy is one of 650 Medical Mission Sisters in 19 nations trying to be present to those in need in the spirit of Jesus the healer.
Sister Lucy is originally from Canada. She earned a B.A. in Education from the University of Alberta, with a focus on Special Ed.

In addition to working as a teacher in Alberta, Sister Lucy taught English in Katsina, Nigeria for 2 years, and in the Marist Brothers’ High School in Pago Pago, Samoa for 3 years. She worked for Volunteer International Christian Service (VICS) in Alberta from 1983 to 1988 before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia at the age of 37.

“I came to Medical Mission Sisters because I believe that within this circle, I can grow and connect with larger circles of life,” she says. “The Medical Mission Sisters’ charism of ‘healing presence’ offers a way to be a participant in the healing process.”

Sister Lucy’s current ministry is in the area of holistic health. She became a certified massage therapist, and worked as a health education and wellness coordinator for 3 years in St. Petersburg, Florida.  In 1999, she founded the Camden Wellness Program in Camden, N.J. — one of the poorest cities in the North America. That program has grown from 1 to 5 sites, providing health and education services that clients could not normally afford.

“In my heart is a passion for justice for all of life,” she says. “All of life is to be respected, reverenced, and celebrated.”

A North East India Mission

Our 16 Sisters in North East India are among almost 600 Medical Mission Sisters trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer today.

In the northeast corner of the nation of India, Medical Mission Sisters reach out in a special way to many persons who have long lacked the opportunities for good health care, education and life-supporting livelihoods. Malaria is very common in most of the towns and villages in which our Sisters serve. So, too, are poverty, illiteracy and exploitation of women.  An active advocate for the empowerment of women as valuable agents of change, Sister Alex Illimoottil has been working with the North East Diocesan Forum in Kohima to help women become more aware of the realities that are part of their lives, and to organize them into groups that can address these issues. Leadership training is an important part of her ministry. “We aim to ensure women equal status in all spheres of life,” she says. Sister Alex is also very involved in the informal education of school-age children who do not have access to any other form of education. Other Medical Mission Sisters in Kohima offer special programs for teen-age boys and reach out to those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Sister Rose Kayathinkara has been honored by the government for having “the best cooperative in North East India.” She founded the Mendipathar Multipurpose Cooperative Society two decades ago and has seen many women gain knowledge, confidence and incomes to help support themselves and their families. Another of our Sisters spends her time caring for the sick in the interior villages that have long gone without health care.

In Rajabala, Medical Mission Sisters try to live an eco-friendly life and care for the Earth through organic farming. Sister Nirmala Chirackapurayidam also trains local health personnel in basic health care and health education, and holds life and justice awareness classes for the youth.

Our Community members living in Chumekedima are neighbors to migrant peoples who are poor and marginalized in many ways. They live in great poverty and most cannot read or write. With these limitations, they have found it difficult to change their lives. We reach out to them, offering health care, feeding programs, nutrition classes, informal education, literacy training, and support to obtain safe housing. In this and all of our ministries in North East India, our Sisters try to be present in a healing way, helping women, children and men who have been denied the basics of life to come to experience what being a human being can and should mean.

February 1, 2013