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Archive for New Archives

A New Day Dawns

 

Medical Mission Sisters are pleased to announce the release of the third CD of the five-volume Sacred Folk Music Project, a collection of Sister Miriam Therese’s songs.  Artists include Melba Moore, Janis Ian, and Medical Mission Sisters, and others, interpreting these beautiful, poetic songs that comfort us, challenge us, and always lead us to God.

December 2015 Archives

 

Sister Rosemary Ryan

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


Thank You

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

New Sector Leadership Team

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

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

Sister Gertrud Dederichs

Dederichs_Gertrud_12Sister Gertrud Dederichs was born in Germany in 1951. She entered our Community in 1975 and made her First Profession of Vows the following year. After studying social work, she was assigned to a parish in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1980 to 1990. Sister Gertrud studied at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago for a year, then returned to East Africa to work in formation. She also became involved in the Medical Mission Sisters’ response to AIDS. Returning to Germany in 1991, she went on to serve as Sector Coordinator for Europe, and then as Assistant Coordinator for our Society from 1996 to 2004. Sister Gertrud now serves as a pastoral minister in a hospital in Bottrop, Germany. She also is involved in justice and peace work and is a member of a local intercultural and inter-religious group. In 2010, she was elected our Community’s District Coordinator of Germany, a position she continues to hold today.

November 2015 Archives

Sister Gertrud Dederichs

Dederichs_Gertrud_12Sister Gertrud Dederichs was born in Germany in 1951. She entered our Community in 1975 and made her First Profession of Vows the following year. After studying social work, she was assigned to a parish in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1980 to 1990. Sister Gertrud studied at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago for a year, then returned to East Africa to work in formation. She also became involved in the Medical Mission Sisters’ response to AIDS. Returning to Germany in 1991, she went on to serve as Sector Coordinator for Europe, and then as Assistant Coordinator for our Society from 1996 to 2004. Sister Gertrud now serves as a pastoral minister in a hospital in Bottrop, Germany. She also is involved in justice and peace work and is a member of a local intercultural and inter-religious group. In 2010, she was elected our Community’s District Coordinator of Germany, a position she continues to hold today.

 

 

Sister Senait Mengesha
Mengesha_Senait-2Sister Senait Mengesha was born in 1961 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1981 she joined our Community and then made her First Vows in 1985. Her Final Vows were professed in 1993. Sister Senait attended school in Malawi and Ethiopia. After college, she worked in the public health department at Attat Hospital, focusing on women’s groups in the villages. Sister Senait then studied sociology and social administration at the University of Addis Ababa where she earned a B.A. degree. She worked in the Daughters of Charity Urban Development project in Addis Ababa for three years in a department for youth, elderly and disabled persons. In 2010 she was elected for a three-year term as our District Coordinator of Ethiopia. Upon completing a second degree, she joined the National Office of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat where she worked in the social rehabilitation unit in a project for and with orphans and vulnerable children. In recent years, Sister Senait has been working as the Social Rehabilitation and Development Coordinator at the National Ethiopian Secretariat. She is our Community representative at the UN office in Addis Ababa.

New Sector Leadership Team

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

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

Archives: 2015

December 2015

Sister Gertrud Dederichs
New Leadership Team
Thank You
Sister Senait Mengesha

 

 

October 2015

Our 90th Anniversary
Sister Jacinta Conlon
MMS 14th General Chapter Begins
Taking Action to End Gun Violence
Associate Elly Naiko

September 2015

Sister Elaine Kohls Honored in Ethiopia
Sister Goretti Poovathunkal
“Latidos” Youth Music Group
Sister Emma Panizales

August 2015

Sister Mariotte Hillebrand
Women’s Circle Celebrates 15 Years
Associate Jane Jones
North American Jubilarians 2015

July 2015

Sister Elly Verrijt
MMS Attend a Conference on the Consecrated Life
Sister Belaynesh Abera
Holy Family Hospital Mandar Milestone

June 2015

Responding to Natural Disasters
Associate Therese Connolly
Sister Christi Kancewick’s Vow Renewal
Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s “Transition”

May 2015

“Moving Cloud Flowing Water” by Sister Yumiko Nobue
Sister Angelika Kollacks
Associate Commitments in North America
Sister Rowena Pineda

April 2015

Medical Mission Sisters at the UN
Associate Loretta Whalen
Anna Dengel Day
Suicide Prevention in South Dakota

March 2015

“The People’s Parliament”
Sister Helen Lembeck
First Vows in Africa
Sister Maggie Lupiya
 

February 2015

Int’l Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking
Sister Beate Glania
2015 Spring Jubilarians

January 2015

Reopening Mission in Malawi

Sister Marielena Ridad

Sister MT Winter Directs New Master of Arts Program

Sister Phyllis  Backer

Sister Tomasa Martinez Flores

Flores_Tomasa Martinez

Sister Tomasa Martinez Flores was born in 1963 in Peru. By the age of 17 she knew she wanted to be a missionary. Interested in teaching, she studied at the Higher Education Institution of the Marist Brothers. After graduating, she worked in public schools for several years, taught in a secondary school, and was a supervisor of education, teaching professional skills. While taking part in the activities of the Diocese of Callao, Peru, she met the Medical Mission Sisters (MMS), and in 2005 began living in a MMS community. She entered our Community in 2008 in Callao, and made her First Vows in 2010. Sister Tomasa has a Master’s Degree and a license in education from the University of Peru.  In Callao, she is involved in technical education among both young people and adults. Sister Tomasa says she hopes to promote healing in all areas of education, coming from whatever needs she may meet, now and wherever she is in mission. 

MMS Honored with a Special Citation

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

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

New Sector Leadership Team

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

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

Sister Senait Mengesha

Mengesha_Senait-2

Sister Senait Mengesha was born in 1961 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1981 she joined our Community and then made her First Vows in 1985. Her Final Vows were professed in 1993. Sister Senait attended school in Malawi and Ethiopia. After college, she worked in the public health department at Attat Hospital, focusing on women’s groups in the villages. Sister Senait then studied sociology and social administration at the University of Addis Ababa where she earned a B.A. degree. She worked in the Daughters of Charity Urban Development project in Addis Ababa for three years in a department for youth, elderly and disabled persons. In 2010 she was elected for a three-year term as our District Coordinator of Ethiopia. Upon completing a second degree, she joined the National Office of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat where she worked in the social rehabilitation unit in a project for and with orphans and vulnerable children. In recent years, Sister Senait has been working as the Social Rehabilitation and Development Coordinator at the National Ethiopian Secretariat. She is our Community representative at the UN office in Addis Ababa.

Thank You

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

Sister Rosemary Ryan

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

MMS in Support of the UN Climate Change Conference

JaneBMarch (4)

Medical Mission Sisters are participating in the UN Climate Change Conference and its related activities around the world in a variety of ways. Two of our Sisters are at the Paris conference the first week it meets and three will take their places the second week.  A number of our Sisters and Associates joined thousands in London, Frankfurt and Washington, DC, over the weekend, in interfaith prayer gatherings, rallies and marches, to draw attention to the importance of reducing greenhouse gases for the sake of the health and life of our planet and all of its inhabitants.

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

December 2015 Archives

Sister Rosemary Ryan

Ryan_Rosemary_3Sister Rosemary was born in Madison, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school, she joined our Community in 1964. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Chestnut Hill College and her medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College, both in Philadelphia.  During her residency at Faulkner Hospital, a community-based teaching hospital in Massachusetts, Sister Rosemary helped start a hospice program. She then provided medical direction for the Faulkner hospice program and directed outpatient training for medical residents as a clinical instructor in medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.  Over the next 35 years, Sister’s responsibilities expanded as she served as a medical director for several hospice programs and also for the VNA Care Network home health agency.  Sister Rosemary served in several leadership positions within our Community including Eastern District Coordinator and North American Sector Coordinator for Mission.  For many years, she also has been a hospice medical director, serving in Boston and surrounding towns.  Sister Rosemary was recently elected as a member of our Community’s new leadership team and, beginning in the spring of 2016, will work alongside our Society Coordinator in London.
December 10, 2015

Associate Elly Naiko

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

Taking Action to End Gun Violence

2015MemorialMedical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia are participating in an interfaith “T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost,” which is trying to raise public awareness of the tragic toll exacted by gun violence. The T-shirts displayed on our Northeast Philadelphia property bear the names of 207 persons killed by guns in the city in 2014. This is part of a national effort called “Taking Action to End Gun Violence.” Many passersby have asked about the Memorial and have added their voices to the many who advocate for peace in our world.

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

MMS 14th General Chapter Begins

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

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

Sister Jacinta Conlon

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

Our 90th Anniversary

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

 

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

“Latidos” Youth Music Group

scan0024Medical Mission Sisters in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, are working with local barrio residents to put an end to violence. One new program, started by Sister Maigualida Riera, is “Latidos,” a youth music group. In only four months, it registered over 100 participants.

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

Sister Goretti Poovathunkal

Poovathunkal_Goretti-2Sister Goretti Poovathunkal was born in Kerala, South India, in 1932. In 1953 she entered our Community. After Profession, she was assigned to work in the kitchen in the Novitiate in Pune, India. Over the next 35 years, Sister Goretti served our Community in many of our missions of North India, in charge of hospital dietary departments, gardens and farms. She then had a year’s mission experience in the Philippines. Sister helped to develop local leadership wherever she was in mission. During a time of renewal in 2001, she visited the U.S. and saw our Sister Margaret McKenna’s “New Jerusalem Now” ministry in North Philadelphia. She was strongly inspired to return to this mission to share her life with people struggling to recover from addiction. In 2003, after waiting, preparing, and praying for a year, she began mission at “New Jerusalem Now” and stayed for nine years. While living there she also became involved in justice work, especially advocating for affordable housing for those who are poor. In 2013, Sister Goretti repatriated to India. She now lives and provides assistance to our Holistic Health Center in Pune.

Sister Elaine Kohls Honored in Ethiopia

IMG_1421Medical Mission Sisters share the good news of our Sister Elaine Kohls’ recent honor in Wolisso, Ethiopia. She was awarded a Certificate of Merit for her great contribution in providing water to people of the area. There are more than 140 tube wells which started as hand-dug wells under the leadership of Sister Elaine. Ensuring safe and clean water has long been an important part of her ministry. It has led to better health for thousands of women, children and men.

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

North American Jubilarians 2015

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

Associate Jane Jones

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

Women’s Circle Celebrates 15 Years

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

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

Sister Mariotte Hillebrand

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

 

Holy Family Hospital Mandar Milestone

scan0021Medical Mission Sisters in District North India have signed an “Agreement” with the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Society for Medical Education, North India, regarding the building of a Medical College on the grounds of Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Mandar where we have been in mission since 1947. Our Community will transfer 17 acres of land as a gift deed for the Medical College and will receive in return the wherewithal to build a new De-Addiction Center and Community residence. Medical Mission Sisters will continue to work in vital health and teaching areas of HFH Mandar and HFH Mandar School of Nursing. We also will continue our de-addiction, alternative health care and community health work, as well as our ecological farming among the rural people of the area who still live in great need.

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

Sister Belaynesh Abera

Abera_Belaynesh-4Sister Belaynesh Abera was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After completing her education, she worked at the Cistercian Technical School, where she first met the Medical Mission Sisters. She made her First Vows in our Community in 1987. After pharmacy training, Sister Belaynesh worked at Attat Hospital, then moved to our community-based project in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. She now works for the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, coordinating its Justice and Peace Desk, which she set up in 2006. Sister Belaynesh’s work includes preparing and organizing seminars and workshops for religious and political leaders, teachers, parish youth leaders and laity council leaders. Within seven of the area Catholic schools, Sister Belaynesh has started Peace Clubs. She also has produced a guide book to help students explore issues of peace and justice. The enthusiasm and commitment of the young people is a great inspiration to her.

 

MMS Attend a Conference on the Consecrated Life

getPart (1)Medical Mission Sisters along with pre-Associate, Sister Selena Wilson, OP, attended a special conference on the Consecrated Life at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, in late June. Sister Sandra Schneiders, IHM, the presenter, spoke on the history of religious life, and how the past would shape our future. She focused on Pope Francis’ view of religious life as a prophetic force in the church.

Caption: Sr. Sandra Schneiders, second from the left, poses with Medical Mission Sisters Katherine Baltazar, Lucy Klein-Gebbinck and Celine Paramundayil, some of our Community’s participants in the conference on the Consecrated Life.

Sister Elly Verrijt

Verrijt_Elly-3Sister Elly Verrijt was born and raised in De Peel, the Netherlands. After college she taught agricultural biology for several years in home economics training schools before she joined our Community in 1966. In 1969 she was missioned to Indonesia where she worked as a health education specialist for 12 years. After post-graduate training in public health nutrition at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta, Sister Elly served as a nutritionist in the slums of Surakarta and the villages of Central Java and worked with the local people for better health and living conditions. In 1986 she studied at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago and served in our Community’s formation and ongoing formation program for many years. After a live-in experience at Genesis Farm in New Jersey, she knew she had to follow her dream of opening a center for earth studies in the Netherlands. She founded “De Garde,” a center for Ecological Awareness and Spirituality in Udenhout in 1999. After 10 years she turned over the leadership of De Gaarde to a group of dedicated Earth workers. Sister Elly now is an international workshop/retreat leader in Ecological Spirituality and Awareness.

Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter’s “transition”

newsOur Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter recently completed 34 illustrious years as Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality and Feminist Studies at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. She now will focus her energies on two programs she founded at the Seminary and continues to direct: the Women’s Leadership Institute and the Master’s Degree Program in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. It’s not a “retirement” for MT, but more of a “transition.”

In photo: Sister Miriam Therese (MT) Winter with Heidi Hadsell, President of Hartford Seminary, at the “transition” party.

Sister Christi Kancewick’s Vow Renewal

Christi's renewal of vows 051 - CopyMedical Mission Sister Christi Kancewick renewed her Vows for two years on the Feast of Corpus Christi in Philadelphia. She says the occasion “was a great blessing. It was filled with love and support from MMS, community and friends. It was a day of deepening my commitment in this journey of being a Medical Mission Sister.” In mid-July, Sister Christi leaves for an Intersector exposure for one year in Africa. She will be working in Nairobi accompanying our African candidates and doing pastoral work. We congratulate Sister Christi and wish her all the best in the year ahead.

Caption: Sister Christi Kancewick (right), pictured with Sister Lucy Klein-Gebbinck, our Integration Coordinator for North America, recently renewed her Vows for two years. She soon begins a special mission experience with our Sisters in East Africa.

Associate Therese Connolly

tcMedical Mission Sister Associate Therese Connolly was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school in 1964, Therese entered the Medical Mission Sisters as a Canonical member. She studied at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1972. As a Canonical member for 27 years, she provided nursing services to the people of Ghana and Nigeria and was active in formation work. In 1997 she became one of our Associate members. Since the late ’90s, Therese has worked in a variety of nursing positions, including as a Mental Health Intensive Case Manager at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. She says, “It’s my heart’s desire that the beautiful healing charism of our Society influences how I live and all that I do. It is a way of being, not a thing that I do.” Therese recently assumed the role of Residential Care Coordinator for our Sisters in Philadelphia who need skilled nursing care.

Responding to Natural Disasters

in-photos-heatwave-in-india-body-image-1432853070 (1)Medical Mission Sisters join our prayers with those of many in our world for the people who have been deeply affected by the torrential rain and flooding in the United States and the terrific drought and intense heat wave in India. In both disasters, over 2000 people have died. As June begins, there is hope that weather patterns soon will change. May it be so.

Caption: An Indian farmer walks through his drought-ravaged fields. (Photo by Jagadeesh NV/EPA).

Sister Rowena Pineda

Pineda_Rowena 2Sister Rowena Pineda was born in Quezon City, in the Philippines. Before becoming a Medical Mission Sister in 1987, she spent a year visiting MMS in Manila and participating in our mission in Bongao. In 1989 she made her First Vows. Her first mission assignment was to Bongao, Tawi Tawi, where she spent five years working in communications and community health. During this time Sister Rowena also helped train health workers. Her next mission was in Metro Manila, where she lived in poor urban communities, helping develop community-based health programs. She also participated in the education and formation of youth. Sister Rowena was our Formation Coordinator for 12 years and was actively involved in formation and leadership development, counseling and spiritual direction of Women and Men religious of other Congregations. For the past seven years she has been Sector Coordinator of East Asia, coordinating our missions in Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Associate Commitments in North America

Associate commitment May 2015 024Medical Mission Sisters in North America celebrate the recent commitments of six Associate members. They come from Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington state. Making first commitments were Pat Coppinger, Mary Crane, Maureen Pryjma and Mary Anne Volk. Five-year commitments were made by Arleen Barlow and Nancy Kaye. These women join 42 other women and men in North America who, as Associates, share our Community values and commit themselves to live as a healing presence wherever they live and work.

Caption: Associate Nancy Kaye from Washington state, left, celebrates her five-year commitment with her mentor, Sister Judy MacDonell

Sister Angelika Kollacks

Kollacks_Angelika 2German-born and raised Sister Angelika Kollacks entered our Community in 1972. With a desire to serve in a large city, she joined several Sisters in creating the Effata Center for Holistic Health to help lower-income people improve their level of wellness. At the center, Sister coordinated health and nutrition education activities and stress reduction techniques; prepared educational courses; and directed spiritual counseling and retreats. After the reunification of Germany, in 1992 she moved to Berlin with Sister Michaela Bank. In an ecumenical center in Marzahn, a satellite town of the former East Berlin, she worked as a music therapist with women who were unemployed or underemployed. In 1995, Sister Angelika graduated with distinction from the Fritz-Perls Institute in Music and Gestalt Therapy. She now leads individual therapy sessions; gives workshops together with a psychotherapist; and sings and uses her many musical instruments in liturgical services.

“Moving Cloud Flowing Water” by Sister Yumiko Nobue

scan0010Medical Mission Sisters announce the availability of a beautiful photo book of the unique life and diverse cultures of the people of Northeast India, where 17 of our Sisters are in mission. “Moving Cloud Flowing Water” contains 145 of Sister Yumiko Nobue’s special photographic memories of a people not very well known to our wider world, as well as Sister’s personal reflections on her life and work among them. Sales of the “coffee-table-style book” will benefit the education of children in Northeast India. The cost of the book is $35.00. Please address all questions regarding its purchase to: mmsorg@medicalmissionsisters.org

Caption: The cover of the just-released book, “Moving Cloud Flowing Water,” a special photographic remembrance of our Sister Yumiko Nobue of the life of the people of Northeast India

Suicide Prevention in South Dakota

P1040559 (1)Medical Mission Sisters advocate for health and wholeness for all individuals. In Eagle Butte, South Dakota, Sister Katherine Baltazar lives among the Lakota tribe, and is active in the youth suicide prevention team. Once unheard of among native peoples, youth suicide is a sad reality today. Since 2012, Sister has worked as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Cheyenne River Health Center. “My work is to provide healing resources in the form of treatment for those suffering from depression and anxiety,” she says. “Some of the problems underlying the high suicide rate are poverty, the lack of economic opportunities on reservations…and trauma from violence.”

Caption: Sister Katherine Baltazar, right, participated in a Good Friday walk for suicide prevention. During it, prayers were said for the healing of communities, and that they be protected from the tragedies of suicide.

Anna Dengel Day

scan0005Medical Mission Sisters celebrate April 17 as Anna Dengel Day. This year April 17 marks the 35th anniversary of our Founder’s death. But we remember, reflect on and thank God for her 88 years of life. Anna Dengel’s faith and vision helped change the Church’s Canon Law that once banned Sisters from being medical doctors, surgeons and obstetricians. Because of her own and our other members’ dedication over the past 90 years, Medical Mission Sisters from around the world have cared for millions of persons who needed health care and/or longed for healing in their lives.

Our new “Anna Dengel” booklet, pictured above, is available free of charge by writing: mmsorg@medicalmissionsisters.org. It just won an Award of Excellence from the Religion Communicators Council.

Associate Loretta Whalen

Whalen_Loretta-3Medical Mission Sister Associate Loretta Whalen was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1940 and entered the Medical Mission Sisters as a Canonical member in 1961 as an RN. She was missioned to Holy Family Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and then to Mexico and Venezuela. Loretta then earned her MA in Religious Education. Music was an important part of her ministry—she participated in recording 14 albums of our music including “WomanSong” and “EarthSong.” She also was involved in a music and liturgy-based teaching ministry for several years, beginning in 1971. In 1976, Loretta left Canonical membership but continued her involvement with Medical Mission Sisters. She helped launch our Associate membership, and, in 1984 made her life commitment as a Medical Mission Sisters’ Associate. Loretta was married for 11 years and raised two step-daughters. She then founded the National Council of Churches’ Office, “Education on Issues of Global Peace and Justice,” which she directed for 20 years. Now living in Philadelphia, Loretta is our Associate Membership Coordinator for North America and a member of our Community choir.

Medical Mission Sisters at the UN

Miriam+Pau+land+Celine+1186Medical Mission Sisters and Associates participated in many ways at recent UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) events in New York. Our UN Representative, Sister Celine Paramundayil, helped plan two programs. One included Sister Anima Puspha Toppo, speaking on the “Impact of Mining on Indigenous Women.” The other, “Women’s Spirituality: Pioneering and Transforming,” included Sister Miriam Therese Winter and MMS Associate Christine Schenk as panelists. Sister Miriam Paul (Dr. Hanna) Klaus was a special presenter at a companion NGO forum sponsored by the World Organization Method of the Ovulation Method, Billings.

Caption: From left to right: Sisters Miriam Paul Klaus and Celine Paramundayil, who attended the recent CSW events at the UN.

First Vows in Africa

Lt---RT-CHRISTINE-LEKURU-&- (1)Medical Mission Sisters worldwide celebrate the First Vows of two of our members in Africa. Christine Lekuru and Jane Frances Suglo make their First Vows on March 28, 2015, at the Assumption of Our Lady Catholic Church in Nairobi, Kenya. Both women entered our Society in 2013. Christine, from North West Uganda, worked with women’s groups during her community experience in Ang’iya, Kenya. Jane Frances, from North West Ghana, worked in fashion design before becoming a candidate. May God bless them on this special day!

Caption: From left to right: Christine Lekuru and Jane Frances Suglo who make their First Vows on March 28.

Sister Maggie Lupiya

Lupiya_MargaretSister Maggie Lupiya was born in Malawi, Central Africa. After graduating from the Phalombe School of Nursing and Midwifery, she worked at an Anglican hospital. In 1991 she entered our Community. Sister Maggie made First Vows in 1994 and her Final Profession in 1999. Her first mission was to Malawi where she worked as a nurse-midwife at Phalombe Hospital, then taught typing to young girls from poor backgrounds. She also coordinated a life-altering microcredit project for poor widows. After taking community development studies specializing in rural development, Sister Maggie was assigned to Wolisso, Ethiopia, where she was in charge of the Public Health Department of St. Luke’s Hospital. Since 2011 she has been in Kenya, East Africa, serving as our East Africa District Treasurer and a formation team member for Sisters in Temporary Vows. Sister Maggie will be one of four Medical Mission Sisters who will be missioned to Malawi in July, 2015.

Sister Helen Lembeck

Lembeck_HelenSister Helen Lembeck was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1945. She entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1963 and made her First Vows in 1966. Sister Helen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. From 1969 to 1974 she ministered in Fort Portal, Uganda, as Secretary of Virika Hospital and Treasurer of District East Africa. She then returned to our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia for several years, serving as Treasurer of our Eastern District and working at a private accounting firm. In 1980 Sister Helen returned to Africa, this time to Malawi, where she was business administrator of two hospitals for a total of 10 years. After repatriating to the U.S. in the 1990s, she moved to California, was Treasurer of our Western District, and very active on our North American governing board. In 1995 she earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Sister is currently a member of our Leadership team in North America.

“The People’s Parliament”

Copy of scan0002Medical Mission Sisters in East Africa share that a television station in Uganda is bringing attention to women’s issues through a program called, “The People’s Parliament,” recorded and aired in different rural areas of the country. Our African Sector Coordinator, Sister Therese Tindirugamu, says, “The program is aimed at conscientizing the people of Uganda towards women’s rights and covers topics including female genital mutilation, and women’s inheritance and ownership of land and property. Other women’s issues addressed are gender-based violence and maternal health care.

Caption: Bringing attention to women’s issues and equality has always been a special part of our mission.

Sister Beate Glania

0bff205909Sister Beate Glania was born in 1966 in Frankfurt, Germany. She has a Ph.D. in Theology (Pastoral Psychology) and served as a pastoral worker in a number of places and positions. After living for several years in an Ignatian spirituality community, she entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 2004 and made her First Vows in 2006. Sister made her Final Vows in 2010. At the Jesuit’s St. George University in Frankfurt, Sister Beate assists in the spiritual training of students of theology who want to become pastoral workers. She accompanies them through reflection groups, weekends for spiritual input, retreats and spiritual accompaniment. Since 2010 Sister Beate has been the Integration/Formation Coordinator for District Germany. In this area of service for our Community, she journeys very closely with both Canonical and Associate members.

2015 Spring Jubilarians

45Medical Mission Sisters share the joy of 23 of our Sisters who mark special milestones this February and March. Thirteen celebrate their 60th anniversaries of Profession of First Vows, two Sisters mark their 50th anniversaries and eight mark 25 years since they made their First Professions. From North America, India, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Africa, North and South India, England, and Italy, these Medical Mission Sisters together have served over 1,000 years among those in need.

Caption: We congratulate our 23 Sisters around the world who mark their Jubilees this Spring.

International Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Human Trafficking

dagmarMoMOct1Medical Mission Sisters join many others around the world in marking the first-ever “International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking.”  To be held February 8, it has been set by Pope Francis as a day to mobilize attention, reflection and action on a growing evil in our world.  A number of our Sisters are actively involved in raising awareness of and responding to the needs of those who are among the 36 million persons being trafficked today.  Among them is Sister Dagmar Plum, pictured here, with individuals in Europe who have fled trafficking situations.

Caption: Pope Francis has said about human trafficking, “In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself.”

Sister Phyllis Backer

IMG_2360_edited-1Sister Phyllis Backer was born in Ferdinand, Indiana, in 1931. Before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1955, she received her R.N. from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Evansville, Indiana. Her first mission was as supervisor of the Pediatric Department of St. Vincent Hospital in Philadelphia. She then began what became 27 years of service to the sick in Pakistan as a nurse-midwife, director of nursing service and community health team member in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Mirpurkhas. In between her Pakistan assignments, Sister Phyllis earned her BSN from St. Louis University and participated in a midwifery refresher course. When she returned to the U.S. in 1987, Sister moved to Baltimore, MD. There she was a member of our formation team and worked as a respite nurse. She co-founded “Anna Center,” a respite care center for sick, homeless women in Washington, DC. When it closed, she worked as a nurse in Baltimore before returning to Philadelphia in 2000. For the past 14 years, Sister Phyllis has been our dedicated and loving Residential Care Coordinator for our Sisters in Philadelphia who need skilled nursing care.

Sister MT Winter Directs New Master of Arts Program

Copy of BEC_2968Medical Mission Sisters’ Miriam Therese Winter is pioneering and directing a Master of Arts Degree in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. The 36-credit program is designed to train students for leadership roles in corporate, government and non-profit organizations. Sister Miriam Therese, Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality and Feminist Studies at Hartford Seminary, says, “I continue to encounter religiously unaffiliated women and men within various faith traditions who are seeking a deeper understanding of the Divine and want to contribute more effectively to peace and cross-cultural harmony in our tumultuous times.”

Caption: For more information on this program, visit: http://www.hartsem.edu/academics/degree-programs/master-of-arts-in-transformative-leadership-and-spirituality/

Sister Marielena Ridad

Ridad_MarielenaSister Marielena Ridad was born on the island of Negros in the Philippines in 1939. She earned a B.S. in Administration before she entered our Community in 1961. Her first assignment was to Germany to assist with the preparation of projects for international funding agencies. She soon returned to the Philippines and helped with vocation promotion work. Sister Marielena then began a decades-long journey with the people of Venezuela that continues today. She served at Hospital Coromoto in Maracaibo for several years. After it closed, she began living and working in the barrio. She helped form a Christian Communities Cooperative and a Center for the Socio-Political Formation. She also helped organize the first group of Medical Mission Sisters Associates in Venezuela. Sister Marielena has served as Sector Coordinator of Latin America and as a Chapter Delegate. She joyfully celebrated her Golden Jubilee last year among the people who claim her heart.