Biographies

Sister Mary Rachel Jackson, MM

Born: July 13, 1891
Entered: October 15, 1928
Died: June 24, 1974

On the feast of St. John Baptist at 7:00 P.M., Sister Mary Rachel Jackson died at Bethany where she had been receiving devoted nursing care.

Agnes Jackson was born in Mansfield, Ohio on July 13, 1891, daughter of Mary Catherine and William Jackson. She had three brothers and two sisters. Agnes attended public and parochial schools, graduating from Mansfield High School. After graduation she worked as a secretary for 15 years. She was private secretary to the President of the Mansfield Tire and Rubber Company for 10 years.

Agnes entered Maryknoll on October 15, 1928 and made her first Vows on January 6, 1931. She was secretary to Father Founder from 1930 until his death in 1936. In 1937 Sister Rachel was assigned to Japan with the idea of establishing a tuberculosis sanatorium there. However, this hope was not realized and she was assigned to St. Paul’s Hospital in Manila, where she was secretary to the Archbishop. In 1940 she worked with the Japanese in Dairen, Manchuria. During World War II, from December 12, 1941 to December 1, 1943 she was interned in Dairen and Shanghai. When Sister Rachel was repatriated aboard the Gripsholm and met relatives and friends after an absence of nine years, she described the trip home as “beautiful” and said of internment that in spite of the circumstances they had some fun.

In the United States Sister Rachel served at Queen of the World Hospital in Kansas City, Mountain View, the Venard, Valley Park and Monrovia. At the Center she was in charge of Travel and Shipping Department for three years.

Sisters who lived with Sister Rachel describe her as charming, dignified, cordial, a warm person and a good listener interested in others. She had the saving grace of a sense of humor. She left a notebook with some personal reflections which would be profitable to read, gleaned from such varied life experiences. But being the top notch secretary she was, she left the notes in shorthand so we’ll have to wait for her future transcription.

Among Sister Rachel’s personal effects was a well-worn notebook with excerpts from talks by Father Founder. On the first page this is part of a prayer he wrote which Sister Rachel seems to have lived out:

“My prayer is that I may think less about myself and more about God and others, keeping close to all with whom I am associated in His glorious work.”

We ask that Maryknollers around the world remember Sister Rachel and her family in prayer and a Eucharistic Celebration.