Returned Missioner News
Mission Integration Program 2023
May 2023: Jill Foster (Haiti) and Julie Lawler (Cambodia) from the Class of 2019 and Judy Walter (Tanzania) from the Class of 2010 concluded the Mission Integration Program with a Mass and Blessing on Friday, May 26. The program is for missioners finishing their first contracts, but this year Judy was invited to participate because she is transitioning out of mission with MKLM. This was the first in-person MIP in several years and the first in El Paso, TX where the Mission Services Department is now located. Jill is also transitioning out of MKLM and will return to the Cincinatti, OH area. Judy will be living in the Chicago, IL area. Julie is returning to Cambodia.
Berry-Stablein family update
May 2023: George Stablein and Anne Berry (Class of 2016 – Tanzania) and their children, Louisa and Suzanna, have transitioned back to the United States and are now living in North Carolina. George is working as a pediatrician in Chapel Hill, where he occasionally gets to use his Swahili when he meets families from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Anne is doing a fellowship year with Duke Family Medicine and Community Health, working on maternal health equity and improving health care for women coming out of incarceration. Louisa is now 9, finishing third grade and a newly minted altar server at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham. Susanna is almost 13 (!) and finishing sixth grade. Their MKLM classmate Becca Muder (2016 – Brazil and El Salvador) visited Durham recently and attended Louisa’s baseball game. The Class of 2016 was unable to have an in-person MIP due to the pandemic, so the family enjoyed having a small reunion. Becca is now a campus minister and “journey spiritual life communities coordinator” at St. Louis University in Missouri.
Nickolas Gehrig graduates from Subiaco Academy
May 2023: Nickolas Gehrig, who — with his parents, Jason and Felicia Gehrig (Class of 1999 – Bolivia); brother, Anthony; and sister, Jessica — was in mission in the Altiplano of Bolivia, graduated from Subiaco Academy in Subiaco, Arkansas on Saturday, May 13. This fall he will attend Texas A&M University, where he will study engineering. Congratulations, Nickolas!
Volunteer at the border now
May 2023: As the needs at the border are growing exponentially, Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Volunteer Placement Assistance Program is helping match returned missioners and Maryknoll affiliates with non-profits serving the migrant populations in El Paso, Texas. The length of volunteer service can range from two weeks to a year. If you are interested in applying or would like more information, contact Debbie Northern at email@example.com.
ALL Returned Missioners invited to Jubilee conclusion Sept. 10
May 2023: Save the Date! Concluding this year’s Jubilee, there will be a virtual gathering for ALL returned missioners on Sunday, Sept. 10, from 7 to 8 p.m. EDT. The Always A Missioner Advisory Council will host this gathering, and unlike past years, we will be inviting all returned missioners to join us for this event, not just the Jubilee classes. We will recognize the Jubilee Classes for 2023 and have a special blessing for the current missioner jubilarians, as well as remember those missioners from the Jubilee classes who have died. We hope you will join us!
Orbis publishes Kathy Osberger book on Chile
May 2023: This August, Orbis Books will be publishing Kathleen Osberger’s book I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile’s Dictatorship, 1975. The book, based on her experience as a lay missioner in Chile, “depicts the solidarity of the Chilean people and the transformational role of nuns and priests dedicated to serving the poor, while highlighting the changing and challenged Catholic Church.” Kathy is known to many current and returned missioners because for 17 years she facilitated a course on “Power and Powerlessness” during MKLM’s orientation program. The release of her book coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 coup in Chile. Kathy is planning several presentations for this summer, including in Chicago, Milwaukee, Ossining and New York City. For more info, email Sam Stanton (Class of 1985 – Chile and U.S.).
Curt and Rehema Klueg receive Heart of Mercy Award
March 2023: Curt Klueg (Class of 2003 – Kenya) and his daughter Rehema received the Heart of Mercy Award from Mercy High School in Farmington, Michigan. Curt teaches religious studies and Rehema is a senior at Mercy High. The values noted for them receiving the award are as follows: “Rehema is rooted in her faith and carries out the actions of God every day. She makes everyone feel welcomed and valued.” And “Mr. Klueg is a disciple of God who lives the Mercy values without condition. He cares about everyone, pushing and encouraging students to become the best they can be.”
Oct. 6-9 Maryknoll-Wide Retreat
March 2023 (updated May 2023): Returned missioners are especially invited to the Oct. 6-9, 2023 Maryknoll-Wide Retreat. This retreat is being organized by the Committee of 12, a cross-representational group that has been reflecting on how the Spirit is moving us in the present and the future. It is open to all connected to any of the four expressions (members, staff and board members of all expressions, MOGC, returned missioners, and more) and will be a hybrid retreat – in person at Maryknoll, New York, and virtual throughout the world for all to attend via Zoom. The theme is “Living in a New Creation.” There will be three presenters and a panel, along with time for group reflection and conversations. The presenters will be Irish theologian and social psychologist Diarmuid O’Murchu, Orbis Books publisher Robert Ellsberg and Maryknoll mission educator/promoter Stephanie Luna. You can register here.
Marilyn Kott and Celine Woznica create Laudato Si’ resources
February 2023: Marilyn Kott (Class of 2015 – Brazil) and Celine Woznica (Class of 1981 – Nicaragua and Mexico) have developed an outstanding, new practical resource to help individuals, couples and families implement the seven goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Plan. Pope Francis has asked all Catholics and all Catholic organizations to begin their own seven-year Laudato Si’ journey. Courtesy of Maryknoll Affiliates, their worksheets are now available on the Catholic Climate Covenant’s God’s Plan(et) website. If you have questions or suggestions, write to Marilyn and Celine at LSMKAffiliates@outlook.com.
Barbara Fraser on Peru Crisis
January 2023: Lima-based Barbara Fraser (Class of 1989 – Peru) provides an in-depth analysis of the current crisis in Peru for America magazine. She quotes Maryknoll Sister Pat Ryan, who has worked among the Aymara people of Puno since the 1970s. “‘What people are experiencing now epitomizes and accentuates what they have been living for centuries,’ Sister Ryan said. ‘The discrimination, exclusion and racism is so poignant. It’s always been there, but now every time that they’re referred to as terrorists, as violent people, as ignorant — all those terms that are used by those who do not appreciate them as people, as brothers and sisters — that goes deeper and deeper into the wound that is already there.’ … Sister Ryan … said the current grievances come on top of upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic … and a drought that has ruined crops in Puno, raising fears of hunger in the months ahead.”
Carol Zuccarino and MKLM border team meet with Richard Rohr
January 2023: Carol Zuccarino (Class of 1980 – Bolivia, Samoa and U.S.) and three of the five Maryknoll lay missioners currently serving at the U.S.-Mexico border had the opportunity on Sunday, Jan. 15 to meet with Father Richard Rohr. The popular Franciscan priest, spirituality author and founder of the Albuquerque-based Center for Action and Contemplation was visiting El Paso, Texas, to see the work with migrants at Sacred Heart Parish, one of the ministries where Maryknoll lay missioners are active. Carol (seated at right) is a long-time volunteer with Annunciation House in El Paso. Although she is officially a member of Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Class of 1980, she had already joined the Maryknoll Bolivia team as a lay missioner in 1968, seven years before the official founding of the Maryknoll lay mission program.
Catherine Heinhold joins MKLM board
January 2023: With the beginning of 2023, Catherine Heinhold (Class of 2010 – Brazil) joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ board of directors. Catherine serves as the pastoral associate for Ignatian spirituality and prayer at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., where her responsibilities also include young adult and LGBTQIA+ ministry. From 2010 until 2015, she served as a Maryknoll lay missioner in São Paulo, Brazil, working in religious education, women’s groups, prison ministry, restorative justice and young adult retreats. “I’m very grateful to continue my connection to MKLM through serving on the board,” Catherine said. “I look forward to learning about the ministries of our current missioners and supporting their work.” The photo shows Catherine (right) with current missioners Heidi Cerneka and Joanne Blaney in Baltimore.
El Paso trip explores collaborative mission community
January 2023: Bob Short (Class of 1978 – Bolivia, Ecuador and U.S.), executive coordinator of Maryknoll Affiliates, recently traveled to El Paso, Texas, with two other members of the Affiliates’ New Mission Initiative Committee. Bob reports on the Affiliates’ website: “We asked, how might we respond to the significant needs on the border from within a collaborative mission community of Maryknollers? … Our primary focus was to explore the possibility of establishing a Maryknoll intentional community inviting all of the four expressions that would, by design, work, pray, and gather (if possible, live) together as a Maryknoll family. We clearly realize that this is an aspirational leap with many, many challenges to consider — housing, personnel and financial resources, orientation, vetting, varying life styles, etc. However, as the saying goes, ‘If not now, when? If not us, who?’”
Advancement volunteers ‘stuff it’
December 2022: Returned missioners Mike and Sharon Lavery (Class of 1977 – Guatemala and U.S.) and retired Maryknoll Lay Missioners staff members Nancy Kleppel and Kathy Wright, along with missioner Marj Humphrey, answered the call to assist the advancement office by stuffing envelopes for our mailings. We so appreciate their help. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Patrick Norberto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bertha Haas continues to support Mwanza’s Huruma School
November 2022: Returned missioner Bertha Haas (Class of 2002, Tanzania) continues to accompany and support Huruma School in Mwanza, Tanzania. Together with a group of parents, Bertha founded the school for children living with disabilities in 2004. In her most recent newsletter, she reports that, as Huruma students finish their school year, “they join the world in the Dec. 3 celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022. Huruma is a good example of this year’s theme: to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. Huruma recently conducted a parent seminar on disabilities and the kind of support parents can provide to their children…. The school garden is going well [and produces] not only vegetables like spinach and pea leaves, but also fruits like bananas and sweet potatoes and cassava. The school is now exploring the possibility of building a green house, which would provide a thriving garden even during the dry season.”
Gigi Gruenke revisits El Salvador
November 2022: In the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns’ November-December 2022 NewsNotes, returned Maryknoll lay missioner Gigi Gruenke (Class of 1999 – El Salvador) writes about the devastating stories she heard about life under the state of exception in El Salvador during her visit there this past August. Since the declaration of the state of exception in March, more than 50,000 citizens have been imprisoned. But no one really knows how many of these prisoners are in fact gang members, as the government claims. Gigi visited the rural Bajo Lempa region where she had worked as a mental health provider in the early 2000s. “What is most characteristic of the individuals captured in the Bajo Lempa region and its surroundings?” she asks. “They are poor and live in marginalized areas.” Read her stories of Vladimir, Alex, Esmeralda and others in NewsNotes.
New AAM Advisory Council meets
October 2022: The new Always A Missioner Advisory Council met for the first time on Oct. 24. The members of the council are Anne Berry (Class of 2016 – Tanzania), John Close (1980 – Tanzania), Cortney Freshwater (2018 – Bolivia), Mike Gable (1988 – Venezuela), and Beth Rademacher (1983 – Brazil). Sonny Nguyen and Liz Mach, who are returned missioner Advancement staff members, and current missioner Debbie Northern are also part of the council. The council was created to assist Maryknoll Lay Missioners in communications and outreach to returned missioners.
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