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Debbie Northern


Year Joined MKLM: 1999

Country: U.S.

Focus: Education, Pastoral Care

Project(s): Education and Training Programs Manager

Population Served: Current, potential and returning Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Project Goal(s):

Organize and plan the Orientation and Mission Integration Programs

Current Ministry:

Debbie is the Education and Training Programs Manager at MKLM. She oversees the coordination, planning and implementation of the candidates’ Orientation Program (OP) and the Mission Integration Program (MIP). The OP is a ten-week preparation program for candidates who are about to become Maryknoll Lay Missioners and serve overseas. MIP occurs at the end of the missioners’ first contract and helps them integrate their overseas mission experiences. As a Mission Services Department staff member, Debbie helps Admissions and Recruitment Managers with their responsibilities. She is also the Regional Covener for MKLM’s missioners on staff here in the United States.

Since the Fall of 2011, Debbie, as both staff member and missioner at the MKLM headquarters in Ossining, NY, has had the privilege and honor to accompany people on their journey to become Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Debbie shares: “Preparing new missioners through our Orientation Program and seeing these missioners return after their initial contracts, through our Mission Integration Program, is very rewarding. It provides me with a great opportunity to really get to know all the missioners!”

Personal Data:

Debbie is originally from Warsaw, VA, and before joining Maryknoll Lay Missioners she served as Catholic Campus Minister at Radford University in Radford, VA, for 12 years. She graduated from Longwood College (VA) with a BA in English. Debbie also has an MA in Physical Education (Sports Communications) from the University of Iowa, an Ed.S. degree in Counseling Psychology from James Madison University (VA), a Master’s in Pastoral Studies from Loyola New Orleans (LIMEX), and a second BA in Spanish from Radford University (VA).

Debbie originally served with Maryknoll Lay Missioners at St. Augustine University in Nyegezi, Tanzania, and taught Journalism. She then transferred to El Salvador and worked at Contrasida. That program accompanies those affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS, promotes human dignity and provides training courses. Debbie assisted at the clinic and taught about gender-based violence, HIV prevention, and building self-esteem, with participative education methods.

In Ossining, NY, Debbie is involved in St. Ann’s Parish and serves in prison ministry at a men’s maximum security prison. She also sings in the Maryknoll Choir!