Nine of our 600 Medical Mission Sisters now living in North America are Diamond Jubilarians this year, marking the 60th anniversaries of their First Vows. They have been and continue to be a special healing presence, as are all of our Sisters and Associates around the world.
Sister Bernadine Cupen – born in Trinidad, Sister was a secretary before entering the Medical Mission Sisters. She became a medical technologist and served in our hospitals in North India for 15 years. She then worked in community development and pastoral work in Bombay, and helped to introduce the charismatic renewal there. In the US since 1986, Sister Bernadine has served as a pastoral associate for many years and now volunteers at New Jerusalem Now, a recovery program for formerly homeless and addicted women and men.
Sister Nina Fritsch – a Detroit native, Sister was a pediatric nurse before she became a Medical Mission Sister. Her overseas mission experience was as a nurse, nursing school instructor and pastoral worker in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Peru, the latter especially with women’s groups. Since 1996 she has lived and worked in the Philadelphia area: with women in prison recovering from drug addictions, with the Ministry Institute of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and in raising awareness of and attention to the many areas of injustice in our world.
Sister Benet Gilland – a Mexican by birth, Sister Benet received her pre-Medical Mission Sister education in San Antonio, Texas. As a MMS, she received her Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Catholic University and her Master’s Degree in Liturgy from Notre Dame University. She taught postulants and novices in India and California, was a Spanish instructor at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, and served as our Western District Coordinator for 6 years. Her life has been one of wholehearted response to the need, wherever it presents itself.
Sister Karen Gossman – born in Louisville, Kentucky, Sister Karen was a nurse who served in World War II’s Army Nursing Corps before joining the MMS. Sister served in Pakistan for 9 years, South Vietnam for 8 years and several years as Executive Director of the Vietnamese Assistance Program in Saigon and Washington, D.C. after the Vietnam War. She became a nurse-anesthetist and worked in Youngstown, Ohio, then Louisville. Sister Karen was very active in pastoral work and in a Covenant Peace Community in Louisville for many years.
Sister Katharine Heidkamp – a Chicagoan, Sister Katharine worked as an X-ray technologist before entering our Community. She served in Pakistan and Venezuela, then returned to the US to become certified in nuclear medicine. Sister received a Master’s Degree in Education, and taught at two colleges, in Illinois and New Mexico. After 25 years in the field of X-ray, she worked as a pastoral assistant on an Oneida Indian Reservation. She then focused her energies on justice issues. Sister received a national award for her untiring work to help cancel the debt of the world’s poorest nations.
Sister Carol Huss – a native of Hammond, Indiana, Sister Carol served as a nurse, nurse-midwife and hospital administrator in India for 39 years. She helped start the Voluntary Health Association of India and served on its faculty. An author of several books, she also helped advance the practice of holistic health modalities in India. When she returned to the US, Sister served in prison ministry and in our fund raising department in Philadelphia then moved to the Mexican-US border. Sister Carol is involved in micro-credit projects in Mexico and in parish ministry in Double Adobe, Arizona.
Sister Teresa Jaramillo – born and raised in San Luis, Colorado, Sister Teresa served 15 years in hospitals in Venezuela, directing housekeeping services, and doing social work and practical nursing. She received a degree in social work then spent 4 additional years in Venezuela and 11 in Nicaragua. For 4 years she worked as a pastoral minister in her home parish then moved to Tijuana. The past 20 years she has worked among the people of Colonia Fausto Gonzalez, a barrio next to what was long a garbage dump. She started a Women’s Cooperative there that has led to training and needed employment for many.
Sister Gertrude Provost – a Wisconsin native, Sister Gertrude became a nurse after entering our Community. Her life of service includes missions in Dacca, Bangladesh; Rawalpindi, Pakistan; Amman, Jordan; South Shields, England; and Ashland, Wisconsin, where she cared for her elderly parents. Since 1998, Sister Gertrude has lived and worked in Philadelphia, offering her special healing presence to women inmates. She is also deeply involved in the care of our elder Sisters, as they journey through the final stages of their Earthly life.
Sister Mary Schild – raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Sister Mary was a medical technologist before she became a Medical Mission Sister. She served in our Holy Family Hospitals in India for 12 years, then in Virika Hospital in Virika, Uganda, for 3 years. In the 1970s she returned to Kansas City and became Director of Chaplaincy Services at a children’s hospital. She also had a very special outreach to persons in the area with HIV/AIDS. Since 1987 Sister Mary has lived in Tucson, Arizona, extending her pastoral ministry to a number of older persons.
August 15, 2012