From the Collections

Day To Day Differences…

Have you ever wondered what is happening in other parts of the world as you go through your day cataloging its particular events? These daily events will soon be stored as memories that help to shape and create your reality. But how much does that differ from someone else’s day to day reality? The Maryknollers have certainly pondered this question a time or two with missioners stationed all over the world. And one good way they found to answer this question was through the writing of diaries. It was a way for the missioners to stay connected and to allow a small window into their every day lives in Africa, Asia, South America and North America.

Let’s take a look into the Maryknoll Sisters Diaries to see what was happening in different mission locations on January 17-18 in 1952 and 1958:

Kowak, Tanzania, Africa: 

January 17[:] This morning before Mass a woman who has been in labor for about thirty-six hours was brought into the mission by her husband. […] They have two girls, Agnes and Cecilia. After Mass Sisters Catherine Maureen and Mary Agnes Jude went down to the little native hut that we have for maternity patients to see the patient. She appeared to be very close to delivery, the baby’s heart was slow and she looked as though she would have a difficult delivery. Sister Catherine Maureen went up to the Convent to get her obstetrical book so that both Sisters could see if they could get some help from this. On her way back she could hear a baby crying – the woman had delivered just after Sister left so Sister Mary Agnes Jude had her first delivery. Mother and baby girl doing very well! Sister Catherine Maureen had asked for Hail Mary’s from the Sisters. Afterwards she told them how quickly their prayers worked. [Meanwhile…]

An excited cry from the school children brought us all outside. A poisonous snake about 30″ long was seen in the grass by the aspirants while they were cutting grass in the back yard. Hanna, our senior aspirant, killed it with a long wooden pole. You would be amused to hear the way the school children shriek over anything from a ‘praying mantis’ to a snake as though they had never seen anything like it before.”
~January 1952, Kowak Diary, Diary Digest

Stockton, California:

“17th. We went out to the church for Mass this morning – as there were two funerals scheduled.

Sister Rose Cecilia made an early trip to the Country Hospital to have some patients there for the clinic opening at 8:00A.M.

Miss Doonan, who works in the Catholic Social Service here with our Sisters was reported safe at home. She was a passenger on the train ‘City of San Francisco’ buried in snow for three days in Donner Pass in the high Sierras.”
~January Diary 1952, Maryknoll Convent, Stockton, California

Guatemala City, Guatemala:

“17[:] Regular classes in gymnasium and in singing began today. […] Conversations these days are all centered around revolutions. Fear of trouble either before or after the elections which will be held on Sunday, prompted the Fernández family to take their children from the boarding school to the family finca until after elections.

18[:] Propaganda leaflets were dropped by plane over the city today. There are four candidates for the presidential election: one extreme right, one middle, one extreme left, and one of no importance. Among the first three there will be considerable competition.

We cancelled the swimming classes for Secundaria because parents are fearful about having their children leave the house in these uncertain days.

The Sisters spent the day in school working and continuing to arrange the hundred and one details connected with moving.”
~Diary for January 1958, Monte Maria, Guatemala, Central America

Hong Kong: 

January 17: The cold continues and it is both interesting and amazing to see how the girls come wrapped up to school. Many of them have 2 or 3 sweaters under their uniform blazer and wear scarfs, gloves, and long woolen socks. One Form III girl also brought a hot water bottle to school hidden in a muff.

January 18: We began the Church Unity Octave after Mass this morning. Second Syllabus meeting. It was held in the Home Economics room after classes in order that the lay teachers could attend the meeting with the Sisters.”
~January 1958, Maryknoll Sisters School (Blue Pool Road), Hong Kong

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