Biographies

Sister Hyacinth Kunkel, MM

Born: December 21, 1898
Entered: September 23, 1923
Professed: April 30, 1926

Antoinette Kunkel worked as a stenographer for two years before entrance to Maryknoll.

Sister was assigned to St. Paul’s Hospital, Philippines, on April 12, 1927. She was assigned to Baguio September 21, 1929 as Guest Mistress and Kindergarten Teacher.

When the Americans returned to re-take the Philippines, they were bombing Baguio in the Mt. Province of Luzon. On the day after Easter Sisters Una (Irish and so not interned) Hyacinth (ill for many years and so not interned) and Carmencita, a Filipina, joined a large caravan of evacuees bound for the lowlands. They were able to keep together until Wednesday noon, then the caravan rested. There they became separated and when ready to proceed, Sr. Hyacinth was not there. An immediate search of the surrounding terrain for her proved unsuccessful. Rumor then spread that a segment of the caravan had taken a fork road which presumably was a shorter route to their destination. Hoping Sr. Hyacinth was with that group, Srs. Una and Carmencita proceeded to the lowlands with the caravan and arrived in safety at the American encampment, only to find that Sr. Hyacinth had not arrived.

Despite a number of searches by military and civilians, no trace of Sister was ever found. Sr. Hyacinth had a beautiful voice and a favorite song which she sang to the delight of her Sister novices earlier at Maryknoll was “Where my caravan has rested.”

The military authorities in Manila declared her officially dead with the presumptive date of death as April 5, 1945.

On the Eve of April 5, 1949, anniversary of her presumptive death, a memorial bronze plaque was hung in the Motherhouse chapel.