Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
On June 29, 1911, Pope Pius X gave his blessing for the formation of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, now commonly known as Maryknoll. The founders of Maryknoll, Father James A. Walsh of Boston and Father Thomas F. Price of North Carolina, set up the training ground for their young missioners on a hilltop in Ossining, New York.
For over 100 years, more than 2,000 men have been ordained to the missionary priesthood, and several hundred have taken oaths as Brothers. The areas in which Maryknollers serve have been affected by World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts around the globe. Maryknollers have been imprisoned, tortured and killed. But the enthusiastic and joyful dedication of the Maryknollers to their apostolic calling has never diminished as they carry the Gospel to Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers work to spread the love of God to our brothers and sisters in need throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Grounded in Catholic social teaching, they live and serve in 27 countries around the world. Their works include care of the mentally and physically challenged, counseling workers, promoting community organizations, AIDS ministries and interreligious dialogue. They share in the suffering of many uprooted by war and famine walking side-by-side with them in their struggle for freedom, dignity and peace.
Maryknoll Lay Missioners
The Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful was founded on August 15, 1994. The association’s vision statement affirms it as “a Catholic community called by the Holy Spirit to mission through our baptism and our on-going journeys of faith…crossing boundaries of culture, nationality and faith to join our lives to those of the poor, marginated and oppressed peoples of the earth.”
The association, an ecclesial response of the U.S. Church to mission, is open to membership by laity, priests, and religious sisters and brothers. Some five hundred associate missioners have already served in mission through associate programs of the society and congregation.
The Maryknoll Lay Mission Program began in 1974 and originally provided opportunities for lay Catholics to give short-term service in mission. Eventually, some lay missioners began to give longer term service, assuming institutional responsibilities such as fundraising and other administrative and professional services for the society.
Each year highly qualified and dedicated single men and women and married couples, many with children, depart to serve in a variety of overseas ministries. These missioners respond to their baptismal call to go out to the world and serve the poor in Africa, Asia, South and Central America. They work with marginalized people of various cultures and religions to change the structures that create poverty and injustice. They apply their skills to address the basic needs of the disenfranchised. Their gifts are in healthcare and health promotion, education and leadership training, sustainable development, justice and peace and pastoral care.
Founded in 1912, the Maryknoll Sisters were the first group of Catholic women in the United States to devote their lives to mission overseas. In 1907, their foundress, Mary Josephine Rogers, met Father James Anthony Walsh, Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Boston. Their meeting led to as lasting partnership that would result in the founding of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in 1911 and the Maryknoll Sisters a year later.
In the very earliest days of the Society, several young women volunteered to help the Fathers and Brothers in their overwhelming administrative tasks. These “secretaries” helped produce the widely read “The Field Afar” magazine. This dedicated group grew into what is now the Foreign Mission Sisters of St. Dominic, or The Maryknoll Sisters.
In 1921 the first Maryknoll sisters arrived in Hong Kong with the goal of joining priests already in Yeungkong, China. Challenged from the beginning by financial and other practical needs, the sisters immediately took up educational work and initiated domestic arts projects with local women. This pattern was to inform the future apostolic ministries of the congregation, both institutional works (educational, medical, and social) and community based pastoral ministries (religious formation and promotion of women). From the beginning, the congregation was open to membership for Catholic women of all nationalities seeking to follow a call to cross-cultural mission.
The Sisters have served in approximately 30 countries worldwide.