Sunday, 24 June 2018 04:58

The Roots of Our Movement

Written by Sharon Mitchell
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“The Early Moments” with Jim Madden and Ellen McDonald

Sharon Mitchell – Albany Chapter

Most Maryknoll Affiliates know that our organization began in 1991 under the guidance of Fr. Jim Madden, MM, and Sr. Ellen McDonald, MM. However, members may not really know or fully appreciate how the founders’ vision for its growth and future influenced the formation of the Affiliates Movement.

On June 28, 2000, Mary J. Murphy, Westchester Chapter, conducted and taped an interview with Fr. Jim and Sr. Ellen at the Maryknoll Center in Ossining, New York. It provided a forum for them to discuss the Affiliate Movement from their unique perspective; they were specifically asked to discuss the concept behind its formation, their hopes/vision for the organization, and their reflections on the Affiliates’ development to that point. The interview was captured as a video entitled, “The Early Moments,” with Fr. Jim Madden and Sr. Ellen McDonald.

Our Albany Chapter first viewed this video in 2011 when we decided to review the history of the Affiliates Movement and the Four Pillars. Since 2011, we have added several new members, and so we decided to review the history and the pillars again.  After much searching, we were able to find and to view the video at our January meeting; we were pleased by our members’ reactions. The general consensus was that this film is a valuable piece of Maryknoll Affiliate history, especially in light of the passing of Fr. Jim in 2014. Our members thought that the film was inspiring, moving, and heart-warming.  The abounding joy, love, and enthusiasm of Fr. Jim and Sr. Ellen for the Affiliates and for the Maryknoll charism were so clearly evident as they spoke.  We hope that other Chapters will consider viewing this important piece of our Maryknoll Affiliate history.

A few months ago, the Affiliate Board asked Chapters to consider our future--where do we want the Affiliates to be in five years? Where do you think that we will actually be in five years? Viewing this interview may be extremely helpful and valuable to us as we contemplate our responses to those questions. Knowledge of our past and of the vision of the founders may serve as a beacon to guide our future course, to keep us true to their ideals, to keep us from straying too far afield of their intentions and dreams.

If you are interested in viewing the interview, please contact Bob Short, Executive Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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