Articles (279)

Photo by Sean Sprague, courtesy of Maryknoll Magazine
Bertha Haas inspired Portland Affiliates to take on the project of helping disabled children in Mwanza, Tanzania. The Huruma Special Unit, a school for disabled children, direly needs funds. Bertha knows the school very well because she founded it over ten years ago when she was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Tanzania. Now we all hope the Taste of Tanzania fundraiser will be a major help to the school and the children.
Sunday, 04 January 2015 00:00

The Way & Maryknoll

Written by

The Way & Maryknoll

Carol-Ann Black – NE Florida Chapter

A “mission trip” to a neighboring county? Northeast Florida Maryknoll Affiliates would say, “Yes, indeed.” On August 14, with no suitcases, no passports, we boarded our transports and headed from Jacksonville, FL, to Green Cove Springs, FL, perhaps an hour’s drive. Once there, we visited The Way, Free Medical Clinic. The Way embodies the meaning of mission. Here the uninsured, indigent, and undocumented can receive high quality medical care, for many, for the first time in years.

Saturday, 03 January 2015 00:00

Let There Be Light

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We recently received this story from Maryknoll Lay Missioner Curt Klueg in Kenya and were inspired by Curt’s creative use of appropriate technology to address poverty and assist with education.

Curt writes about Peter and Cynthia, students in the HOPE project, whose family of four (one mom and three children) live in a very simple 10x10’ room with one bed, no electricity, and no running water. In the evenings, the children have studies to complete and, like many Christian families in Kenya, they tend to spend some time every evening reading scripture and singing hymns together.

Thursday, 01 January 2015 00:00

Caminando Continues

Written by

Ron Covey – Houston Chapter

Since the death of Father Thomas Goekler, MM, in 2010, Caminando Por La Paz – Guatemala has been run by Maryknoll Affiliates, guided by the Affiliate Four Pillars. We believe that this is the only mission program originally established by Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers, or Sisters that is now run by Affiliates.

In the April/May, 2011, Not So Far Afield, we described our efforts to continue Father Thomas’ work. We constantly try to improve the program and to foster positive change in this small corner of the world—Paraiso II, Zone 18, one of the most marginalized, impoverished, violent zones in Guatemala City.

Education. Lack of education in the general population is one of the major problems in Guatemala; it leads to persistent poverty and violence and is undoubtedly connected to the US’s immigration issues. Although Guatemala does provide public education, students pay for books, school supplies, uniforms, etc. For the poor in society, those with a third grade education are considered fortunate. For these reasons, education is our primary focus. 

We currently tutor 23 students who are still in school, plus another 25-30 others. Thanks to a grant we received from Cross Catholic International, we have been able to expand this program, not only providing educational materials, but also offering nutritious food prior to tutoring sessions. The latter has greatly improved our attendance rates. Our children now show up early, with their plates, and of course, better food makes for more focus and readiness to learn.

Spirituality. We now offer a weekly holy hour, held on Friday afternoons and led by a nun from the local parish. We begin it with a prayer or two and perhaps a hymn. The main activity, however, is to read and discuss the scripture readings of the next Sunday’s liturgy. Not only has the number of regular participants increased, but we have been blessed by people of the neighborhood, who, on their own initiative, are now providing light refreshments—perhaps a sign that our efforts to build a sense of self-responsibility are paying off.

During the past year, donors financed our two spiritual pilgrimages. Last December, we took a group of neighbors to Esquipulas, where they could encounter the “Christo Negro,” a black crucifix believed to be the source of many miracles.

In early August, we held our second pilgrimage, this time taking about 25 neighbors over the mountain to Antigua. In the morning we visited music and coffee museums, both tourist attractions. On this trip, we treated participants to lunch on a friend’s patio. In the afternoon, Edwin Bejarano spoke about the life of Hermano Pedro, a local saint who was canonized on July 30, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. After his lecture, Bejarano took us on a walk through the city, visiting various places that had been important in the life of Hermano Pedro.

Other Projects. We remodeled a neighborhood volunteer’s home—a small, single-room house with leaking roof and dirt floor. A key member of a growing group of neighborhood volunteers, she is a single mother with four children. Although the changes we made would not be considered much of an improvement in the US, we were able to divide the space into a small kitchen and separate living area. (We have been blessed as well, because she is one of the cooks who prepare the food we provide during tutoring sessions.)

Our second project was to improve a local soccer field, smoothing out the terrain and providing some shelter over the bleachers. We also painted the seating area and goal posts.

Lastly, after several years of planning and development, our third project is coming to fruition. We are now exporting coffee to the US. We have two goals: 1) to use the major portion of our earnings to continue our education efforts, and 2) to improve the lives of the coffee growers, who, after years of being paid poorly, can finally realize a more just wage. They plan to use the funds to improve their farming methods and, consequently, the quality of the coffee.


All that we are able to due to our donors, without whose help this program would have died with Father Thomas. Learn more about our work at or on Facebook at “misioneros Padre Tomas.” If you would like to request our periodic newsletters, email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Saturday, 15 November 2014 00:00

Reverse Cultural Immersion

Written by

Dan Driscoll-Shaw – Chicago Central Chapter

The servers stand ready.

Maryknollers are experienced in immersing ourselves in another culture. Our Chicago Central Chapter recently helped seven Chinese priests and sisters immerse themselves in the best of our American culture, at least for a day. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we invited them to share in our traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

El Salvador Mining Struggles Continue

Written by

Joe Hastings – Maryknoll Lay Missioner, El Salvador 

(Edited from MOGC NewsNotes July-Aug 2014)

The Oceana Gold mining company, owner of the El Dorado mine, uses its deep pockets to influence politicians, coerce support in communities desperate for funds, and intimidate opponents. A decision on the legal future of the mine is now with the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank “court” in Washington, DC, far away from anyone who lives in the threatened areas of El Salvador.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00

Thousands of Stars in Bolivia

Written by

Jason Obergfell – Cochabamba, Bolivia Chapter

Translated from “Hay miles de Esterellas en Bolivia,” which appeared in the October 2014 issue of No Tan Lejos del Horizonte.

Estrella (Spanish for Star) is a girl in the Educational Support Program of the Parish of Our Lady of La Salette in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She’s probably not one of the best students in her school. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate her when she has a task. One day in particular, she had to work on a project for Mother’s Day. As she made no progress, I tried to help her think with a question. “How are moms?” I asked. “Bad,” she said. I thought she was joking with her answer. So I told her to continue working and I would return later. 

Catherine (Kitty) Madden – Affiliate

In Nicaragua’s Northern Highlands, since Casa Materna began in 1990, Maryknoll has been present through the Sisters, Fathers, Lay Missioners and later the Affiliates. This October 31st we celebrated the 24th anniversary of the Casa, and 23 years of service to over 17,000 rural mothers with high-risk pregnancies. To all of the Maryknoll family we give thanks for the many ways in which you have accompanied us, spiritually and financially, during these first 24 years.

The Casa Materna Mary Ann Jackman staff

While the Casa has no formal volunteer program, we welcome small groups to come for 7-10 days to experience the reality of Nicaragua and the various aspects of the Casa services. For more information about visits and a participation in a “ministry of presence,” contact co-founder and Maryknoll Affiliate  Kitty Madden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   and visit 



Sunday, 09 November 2014 00:00

Joy of the Gospel… in Cambodia

Written by

Rich Lessard – Albany Chapter, Affiliate Board Member


FAB travelers, with Denise and Rich Lessard on the far right, before the stone faces of the ancient Bayon Temple.

Around the world in 18 days! My wife, Denise, and I recently participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Cambodia.

”So, how was your trip?”—I find myself entertaining this question in my first weeks home. How do I capture the essence of this Cambodian FAB experience? How do I explain the transformation working inside me? After a chuckle—they don’t realize how loaded the question is—I exclaim, “It was great!” an accurate, though short, response. But if the questioner is interested, I’ll explain that the trip was a mission awareness experience and that we visited with a number of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Sisters, and Fathers. I’ll highlight some of their various ministries, and provide some context to the plight of the Cambodian people, past and present. Often, I’ll mention my blog of each day’s activities. This response still doesn’t capture the richness of the experience, though. 

John Moritz – Southeast Regional Coordinator, Northeast Florida Chapter

John Moritz, Peg Vamosy, MLM, and Jack Sullivan, MM at the General Assembly John Moritz, Peg Vamosy, MLM, and Jack Sullivan, MM at the General Assembly

I thank the Affiliates and our Board for the privilege of representing them at the General Assembly (GA) of the Maryknoll Sisters. 144 voting Sister Delegates came to set their directions and policies and to elect new leadership for the Congregation. Other official but non-voting participants included: Fr. Jack Sullivan – Society, Margaret (Peg) Vamosy – Lay Missioners, and Mary Elizabeth (Mef) Ford –Full Circle.

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