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Archive for Archives – Page 3

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

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

Sister Patrice McSweeney

Many years ago, Mother Anna Dengel caught a glimpse of Sister Patrice McSweeney walking past her office and called her aside. Was there any reason, Mother Dengel wanted to know, that Sister Patrice wouldn’t want to return to Venezuela, where she had lived as a young girl, for her first mission assignment?

Sister Patrice recalls: “I just stood there like a poker and said ‘no, there’s no reason at all.’ On the inside, I was doing cartwheels!”

She would go on to spend nearly 40 wonderful years in Venezuela. She first went to Maracaibo, then to Caripito, where she served as a nurse. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Puerto Rico. Afterwards, she went back to Venezuela, this time working in Barquisimeto, helping deaf and handicapped children in Barrio La Paz to receive an education.  In 1999, Sister Patrice repatriated to the United States after she “came down with a bug.”

“The Lord knew that was the only way to get me back here. I loved everything about Venezuela,” Sister Patrice theorizes. It took her about six months to recover and, afterwards, she became active in pastoral ministry, visiting the sick, and working as an office aide for a literacy center.  Sister Patrice now volunteers part-time in our Community’s Mission Development Center.

Sister Pauline Sadiq


At an early age, Sister Pauline Sadiq’s father showed her the importance of being interconnected with the Earth. The eldest of seven children raised in Sindh, Pakistan, she spent her early childhood crawling around in clay, playing with it and using it to make toys. Her father was a farmer, and he brought home fresh vegetables for supper each day. She loved the way that he always walked barefoot across the Earth, soaking up its positive energy.

“This energy made him gracious and a peaceful person,” Sister Pauline recalls. “I am proud to be the daughter of a farmer.”

Entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1992, Sister Pauline made her Final Profession of Vows in 2002 after training as a nurse-midwife at Holy Family Hospital in Karachi. For ten years, she served in our dispensary in Faisalabad and helped to found the Lahore Community in Pakistan. In addition to serving as formation director, she regularly visits the “bonded” workers forced to work in the brick kiln to pay off family debts.

Sister Pauline shares: “I am challenged to be a voice of the voiceless. I need to trust myself and believe that I am God’s beautiful daughter. God is dwelling in me and is my co-journeyer.  Then I will become the voice of the voiceless.”