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Archive for Archives – Page 2

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

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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

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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

Meet Our Members

Meet Our Members

The Anna Dengel Family Center, Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa, Peru, is a city of approximately 1 million people, many of whom have been made poor. Women in the family, as well as men, must work if there is to be enough food on the table. Our Anna Dengel Center offers the occupational training services they need, for a nominal fee.

At the Center, adults can enroll in such courses as computer science, tailoring/sewing, and cosmetology, which are all government-recognized and certified programs. A course in bakery skills gives women a new way to generate income. Courses are also given to youth groups, within and outside of the parish. Sisters Pat Gootee, Cathy Ouellette and Marisol Martinez are involved in the Center.

To ensure a safe place for the children while the parents are working, our Sisters opened a Wawacuna (day care center) at the Anna Dengel Center.  Local women, trained as teachers, work with the children each day. The youngest children are just a few months old; the oldest are primary-school age, and come after school. All the children receive nutritious meals and/or snacks appropriate to the time of day. National celebrations, like the one pictured, help the children to appreciate their cultural heritage.

The Wawacuna will soon be given official recognition by the Ministry of Education. It then will become eligible for financial assistance and school food program support.

“We are moving into education and training because they have more multiplying effects,” explain our Sisters in Peru. “Daily nourishment for us is found in walking with the people, sharing their joys, suffering and accomplishments in life.”

TeenSTAR Revisted

Teaching teens to value human sexuality is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters around the world try to be a healing presence to those in need today.

In 1980, Sister-Doctor Miriam Paul (Hanna) Klaus, an obstetrician-gynecologist, launched a new program to educate young people about the value of sexual abstinence. She explains that TeenSTAR (“Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility”) 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.”

Born in Vienna, Austria, Sister Miriam Paul entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1957. After serving 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). After several years in St. Louis, in 1975, she became Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, 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.

TeenSTAR places a high value on possessing fertility rather than either acknowledging it abstractly or isolating fertility from one’s self concept and from the body by the use or drugs or devices. The TeenSTAR program, which is funded by USAID’s President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in Uganda and Ethiopia for the prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission, has led to increased self confidence among teen participants, enhanced their ability to resist pressure to engage in unwanted activities, especially sexual intercourse, and has led them to make their own decisions. TeenSTAR is now available in 27 countries on 5 continents.

Nearly 56,000 students have graduated from TeenSTAR programs. Almost 140,000 members of communities have received information about HIV/AIDS and how to avoid transmission. Many have enrolled in TeenSTAR clubs whose function is mutual encouragement and outreach. “Most people put contraception and abstinence on the same line, but there is a huge difference in controlling behavior through respect versus isolating fertility,” says Sister. “Contraceptive programs have very limited effectiveness in that regard.”

In conjunction with its program, TeenSTAR hosts parent meetings where the instructors explain what will be taught to the children. The program is careful to be sensitive to what parents have already chosen for themselves regarding family planning.

In later 2012, a new Executive Director was named for TeenSTAR. Awarded by many groups for her work, Sister Miriam Paul will remain active in its many program components.

February 1, 2013

Congratulations to Sister Nigist Biru

Congratulations to Sister Nigist Biru who makes her Vows for Life on January 13 at the parish Church in Attat, Ethiopia. Sister Agnes Lanfermann, our Society Coordinator, and the Bishop of the Eparchy will be present at the celebration. Sister has been active for many years in educating people how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS

Recently, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sister Teresita Hinnegan testified at a hearing on human trafficking. Sister Teresita is the founder of Dawn’s Place, a nine-bed residential therapeutic program for women who have been trafficked. The hearing, called by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, took note of the domestic and international aspects of human trafficking and sought to quantify the problem. Hearings will continue in 2013.

In December, a deadly typhoon, “Pablo,” swept through the southern Philippines. Raging water and mud from the mountains swept through school buildings, covered courts, town halls, and health centers where residents had taken shelter. Many people died and many are still missing. The death toll will likely hit 1,500, making “Pablo” the second deadliest storm since the Philippines began keeping records of typhoons since 1947.

Some 300,000 people who remain homeless are still in evacuation centers. Plantations and crops were destroyed. There is widespread deforestation. Medical Mission Sisters in the Philippines and around the world keep in prayer all those who have suffered through this and other natural disasters.

Please use our “Contact Page” to send your special prayer requests. Each is written in our “Intention Book” right outside our Chapel in Philadelphia and remembered daily in our Sisters’ prayers.

Medical Mission Sisters thank you for your continued support and wish you a safe and happy new year. We pray that 2013 will bring you the blessings you need most.

January 1, 2013

Sister Alex Illimoottil

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

Center for Human Integration

The work of the Center for Human Integration, is one of the hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters around the world try to be a healing presence to those in need today.

Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Center for Human Integration (CHI) offers a wide range of program and client services in complementary modes of healing. The Center was established in 1981. Approximately 2,500 client service sessions are provided annually. These help to: reduce chronic pain; increase energy and mobility; manage stress; and integrate life-changing awareness for clients.

700 persons attend CHI classes and workshops each year. Fall and Spring semesters are offered. Each one includes over 80 different courses, presented by 46 instructors.

The Sisters who work at CHI have many years of experience in health care around the world. Sister Mary Em McGlone, B.S.N., C.M.T., Director and Founder of CHI, formerly served as a nurse in Uganda. Sister Sheila McGinnis, B.S.N, C.M.T., Co-Director of CHI, spent years as a nurse in Vietnam. Sister Marguerite Papineau, A.D.N., C.M.T., who worked in the Middle East and Pakistan, and newly-professed Sister Yumiko Nobue, from Japan, are also practitioners on the CHI staff.

“A phenomenal growth in the non-invasive, body/mind/spirit integrated approach to health awareness has occurred in the past 20 years,” says Sister Mary Em. The Fox Chase Cancer Center, just outside Philadelphia, has designated CHI as its “Complementary Health Care Provider of Choice.”

In 2000, CHI was licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer a program in Integrative Body/Mind Therapies leading to a diploma. The 600-hour program prepares students to be professional practitioners of the healing arts of complementary care, and also prepares students for eligibility for the National Certification examination given by the American Massage Therapists.

The Anna Dengel Family Center

The Anna Dengel Family Center, Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa, Peru, is a city of approximately 1 million people, many of whom have been made poor. Women in the family, as well as men, must work if there is to be enough food on the table. Our Anna Dengel Center offers the occupational training services they need, for a nominal fee.

At the Center, adults can enroll in such courses as computer science, tailoring/sewing, and cosmetology, which are all government-recognized and certified programs. A course in bakery skills gives women a new way to generate income. Courses are also given to youth groups, within and outside of the parish. Sisters Pat Gootee, Cathy Ouellette and Marisol Martinez are involved in the Center.

To ensure a safe place for the children while the parents are working, our Sisters opened a Wawacuna (day care center) at the Anna Dengel Center.  Local women, trained as teachers, work with the children each day. The youngest children are just a few months old; the oldest are primary-school age, and come after school. All the children receive nutritious meals and/or snacks appropriate to the time of day. National celebrations, like the one pictured, help the children to appreciate their cultural heritage.

The Wawacuna will soon be given official recognition by the Ministry of Education. It then will become eligible for financial assistance and school food program support.

“We are moving into education and training because they have more multiplying effects,” explain our Sisters in Peru. “Daily nourishment for us is found in walking with the people, sharing their joys, suffering and accomplishments in life.”


Flooding in Jakarta

Recent flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia, due to three days of torrential rain, resulted in over 100,000 persons being displaced from their homes. Over 50 people died, many because of smoke poisoning from improperly ventilated generators that were running when the power went out.

Our Sisters in Jakarta were not harmed and immediately began helping those in need of emergency supplies and comfort and care. Please join us in praying for those in Indonesia whose lives have been turned upside down by this terrible flooding.

Congratulations to Sister Shahnaz Hayat

Congratulations to Sister Shahnaz Hayat who made her First Vows on January 6, 2013, in Faisalabad, Pakistan. In South India, Santhi Sekar and Mini Amalolbhavam will make their First Vows in Khandwa on January 30. Asinta Narzari will also make her First Vows on February 2 in Sudari, North East India. We pray for these four women as they begin their journey as vowed Medical Mission Sisters.

Membership


Medical Mission Sisters dedicate our lives to a mission of healing presence among those in need.  We reach out to others with loving hands and compassionate hearts, seeking to promote life, wellness and wholeness wherever they are not found.  We share our material resources, our talents, our very selves in order to create a more just and human world for all.  Trusting in God’s goodness and love, we live within a Community.  Prayer is integral to our life together.

As members of a Religious Congregation, Medical Mission Sisters profess public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  The stages of Canonical Membership include:  Pre-Candidacy (up to two years), Candidacy (approximately two years), Temporary Commitment (3 to 6 years) and Profession of Vows for Life.  For more information on Canonical Membership, please contact:  HYPERLINK “mailto:info@medicalmissionsisters.com” info@medicalmissionsisters.com

Medical Mission Sisters’ Associates are women and men who 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.  Association invites individuals to deepen their spiritual lives through reflection, prayer, worship and actions that promote healing.  For more information on our Associate Program in North America, please contact Loretta Whalen:  HYPERLINK “mailto:LTWhalen@earthlink.net” LTWhalen@earthlink.net

Medical Mission Sisters Renews Partnership with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

On March 25, 2012, Medical Mission Sisters renewed our partnership with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) in the management and stewardship of Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna, India. After a special prayer service, Sister Rowena Miranda, our District Coordinator in North India, and Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN Provincial, together lit two diyas (oil lamps) that merged into one flame. Then five Sisters from each congregation lit ten diyas. Archbishop William D’Souza said the lighting was symbolic of the pioneering partnership our two communities began at the hospital 12 years ago, and expressed his appreciation and support for this mission.

We congratulate Sister-Doctor Simone Herrmann, who made her Final Vows as a Medical Mission Sister on April 9 in Bottrop, Germany. A surgeon, Sister Simone serves in a local hospital. She will be moving to England later this year to be part of our new, international London community.

Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. Medical Mission Sisters are involved in a wide variety of ecological efforts to ensure safe water, food and air for people around the world. We also are committed to live our own lives in a simple, sustainable way. For more information on Earth Day, please visit: www.earthday.org

Wednesday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Its theme this year is, “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” According to the website, www.worldmalariaday.org, humanity is now “at a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control. Whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites, depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next years.” Many of our Sisters care for, or advocate for, people suffering with malaria.

April 15, 2012

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Solutions for Peace Explored At Sister Pat Patton’s Mission in Loitokitok, Kenya

At Sister Pat Patton’s mission in Loitokitok, Kenya, the Diocesan Justice and Peace Department conducted a seminar with representatives from all of the parish’s out-stations. They introduced techniques of dialogue and counseling for assessing problems of justice and peace on the local level, and planning possible solutions. The German Ambassador to Kenya was there and was taken on a tour of the compound, including the primary school under construction, and the house where Sister Pat lives. Sister Pat is invited to lunch with the ambassador on her next trip to Nairobi.

In Philadelphia, the Center for the Empowerment of Women, founded and directed by Sister Teresita Hinnegan, is co-sponsoring “Slam on the Silence: Quiet the Violence” on Saturday, February 25, at 5:00 p.m. Held at Ploome Studio in Liberties Walk, in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, the performers at the event will address teen dating violence through the medium of the spoken word. Prizes will be awarded to the top three performers.

Sister Rose Kayathinkara recently received the 2012 PA Togan Sangma Award for Social Service from the Governor of Meghalaya, North East India. The citation reads, in part, “Sister Rose is a beacon of hope and a messenger of peace, who has selflessly and relentlessly served the people of Garo Hills for the last 34 years. Her herculean efforts to uplift the people from poverty and destitution…have borne fruit in several ways as the people of the region under her care and loving guidance have transformed their lives.”

In Bottrop, Germany, Sisters Gertrud Dederichs and Beate Harst, and Associate Karl Heinz Heyer, are involved in a pastoral care project that connects pastoral care in the hospital with different parishes. As pastoral workers in the hospital, they see that the average hospital stay is growing shorter. Now, people in the parishes are being trained to visit the sick at home when they are discharged from the hospital. This is a new way for parishioners to keep in touch with mostly older patients who are no longer able to go to church.
February 15, 2012

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Congratulations to Sister Nigist Biru on Receiving Official Diploma as a Health Officer

We congratulate Sister Nigist Biru, who received her official diploma as a Health Officer in Attat, Ethiopia. Her thesis on malnutrition was well received. She is working in the Outpatient Department and also overseeing the Nutrition Unit at Attat Hospital. In the parish, she is involved with young people and the sewing group, whose profits go into an education fund for the youth. Sister Nigist will make her Final Vows in 2012.

In Kottayam, Kerala, India, Sister Dolores Kannampuzha continues serving at the Cancer and AIDS Shelter Society (CASS), which she founded. Sister Dolores is involved in rehabilitating women, educating children, and contacting benefactors. She follows up with HIV/AIDS clients, works for psycho-spiritual empowerment of their families, and visits with their children. Many people benefit from the regular holistic massage clinic held at CASS.

Sister-Doctor Miriam Paul (Hanna) Klaus, who founded the international program TeenSTAR (Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility) is traveling to Kampala, Uganda, for a meeting in mid-January, 2012. TeenSTAR is active in 23 districts in Uganda. Sister will then go to Ethiopia, where TeenSTAR trainers are working in 11 dioceses.

Our Sisters in Malaybalay, the Philippines, have begun a mission with the Higaonons, a group of indigenous people who have lost their ancestral lands to big agri-business enterprises. Although the Higaonons still till the margins of the land, in most cases their produce is not enough to cover basic needs. The Sisters are working with the people to grow vegetables and herbal plants on a large vacant lot.

January 1, 2012

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10th Anniversary of Sept. 11

To mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, where Sister Maria Hornung is in mission, is collaborating with religious and government agencies to create meaningful events, a unified message, and helpful resources. In addition to events planned for Philadelphia on September 11, the Interfaith Center and the Religious Leaders Council have gathered resources to foster discussion, hope and healing on this tenth anniversary, for liturgy, prayer or community gatherings. You’ll find them at: www.interfaithcenterpa.org

Sister Elaine Kohls serves as General Manager at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Wolisso, Ethiopia, which has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade. The number of Outpatient Department Visits has increased more than five-fold, to 74,253, and the number of hospital beds has more than doubled, to 192. With the completion of the eye unit in 2008, the ophthalmology services continue to increase. Over two thousand eye operations were completed last year. Sister Elaine is deeply grateful for the prayers and support of St. Luke’s generous donors.

In Bottrop, Germany, Sister-Doctor Simone Hermann has successfully completed her surgery exams and gained experience in emergency medicine. She is planning to make her Vows for Life in spring, 2012. Sister Simone hopes to serve as a surgeon in Germany this year, then move to our new international community in London next year.

In Cleveland, Ohio, Medical Mission Sisters Associate Evelyn Godwin is involved with an organization called EDEN (Emerald Development and Economic Network, Inc.), a housing resource and development agency. She is helping to organize a new service: supplying kitchen items for men who are moving into efficiency apartments from local transitional housing. Some of the men have jobs, but do not have a place to live. Evelyn explains, “A request for ‘housewarming baskets’ came to us, with a list of needed kitchen items…every other Sunday we fill two large laundry baskets (plus extra boxes) with all the items needed for two kitchens, from dishtowels to coffee pots.” Evelyn also volunteers as a tutor, and serves dinner several times a month at a local shelter.

Sister Sylvia Strahler Reports on Rehabilitation in Pakistan

Sister Sylvia Strahler, our District Coordinator in Pakistan, reports that rehabilitation for the flood victims is ongoing, sharing, “The needs are overwhelming.” Our Sisters are conducting health camps, helping to construct houses, and distributing warm clothes. We also have partnered with an organization to supply goats to the affected families. Please continue to pray for the flood victims and all those trying to help them.

At our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia, our Sisters hosted the women of Interim House, the residential program for women in recovery from addictions to drugs and alcohol, for their annual Christmas gathering. Sisters Jean Schulties and Gertrude Provost have ministered at Interim House for many years, facilitating a mandatory weekly course based on the book, “Houses of Healing: A Prisoner’s Guide to Inner Power and Freedom.”

We congratulate our new elected leaders in South India: Sister Josita Myladiyil, District Coordinator in South India, and Sister Lilly Joseph Nellikunnel, Assistant District Coordinator. The handing-over ritual took place on December 9th in Kottayam. Special thanks to Sister Joan Thazhathel, who has completed her term as District Coordinator.

Three graduates from Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, recently visited our Sisters who have served in Pakistan and now live in Philadelphia. Clara Pasha and her two friends all expressed profound appreciation for the education and training they received from our Sisters. Clara, 70, lives in Islamabad and works with NGOs and international organizations; her friends live in the U.S. “I am so proud to be a graduate of Holy Family,” Clara said. A recipient of Pakistan’s “Pride of Performance” award, Clara served as Nursing Advisor for the Pakistan government under President Musharref, and was a WHO Coordinator in Pakistan for 11 years.

December 15, 2010