Sister Dominic Marie Turner, MM

Born: May 29, 1901
Entered: October 15, 1926
Died: March 5, 1971

You have received word of the death of Sister Dominic Marie Turner at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in Hong Kong on Friday, March 5, 1971. Sister Dominic Marie (Edna Irene Turner) had been on the critical list and knew the loving concern and care of our own Sisters to whom she frequently expressed her desire to go home to God. Sister received the Blessing of the Sick and also had the consolation of having Sister Mary Paul, Sister Clement, and others, who had shared the apostolate with her, present at her bedside to join together in prayer earlier in the evening of March 5th.

Sister Dominic Marie was born in British Guiana, May 29, 1901. Her childhood was spent in Trinidad, British West Indies, where she was received into the Church in 1916. She came to New York io join the Dominican Sisters, who run Mary Immaculate hospital in Jamaica, Long Island. Her plans were changed, however, when she came across information on Maryknoll in the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith. Her intense love for the foreign missions caused her to ask for admission into Maryknoll and she entered on October 15, 1926. She made her first vows on April 30, 1929, the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, and left the same year for Hawaii and her first assignment. In 1936 she was assigned to Hong Kong and then to the interior of China where she was stationed at Kongmoon, Pingnam and Yunghui. The war years, 1941 to 1944, were spent in Yunghui where she knew the anxiety of dodging the bombs and machine-gunning of the Japanese planes. Later she was among those moved to India and flown back to the United States in early 1945. After a six month stay at Monrovia, Sister visited her family in Trinidad and then returned to the Motherhouse where she served in the infirmary until she was reassigned to China in 1946. She served at Yeungkong and then was appointed superior at Sacred Heart Hospital in T’oi Shaan where she was when the Communists took over. Sister was under arrest from March 1952 until she was expelled from China on January 14, 1953, the last Maryknoll Sister to be put out of China. She then served in Formosa and Hong Kong, returning to the States in 1956. After two years on Promotion, she returned to Hong Kong and spent most of her later years at our hospital there.

Sister Dominic Marie was a Dominican and a Maryknoller. She loved her vocation and lived it. Her capacity of being of service to others seemed never to exhaust itself. Once she learned someone had a need which she could fill, distance or hardship could not deter her. It might be someone’s birthday or another celebration, when she would go into the kitchen and give the regular food a feastday flavor; or it might be a sick—call to answer. It might even be a play — she had written, coached and presented plays that held the audiences in awe both in Hawaii and China!

During the war years she cared for and nursed many of our priests and sisters through serious illnesses. For those whose lives she could not save, she wrote to console their relatives by assuring them that she was an eye-witness, and that every possible comfort was given them. Later she did the same for the patients at the T’oi Shaan Hospital.

She zealously continued the work of our Sisters in guiding the Kongmoon Native Community of Sisters to set up and continue their apostolate in Hong Kong.

Sister Dominic Marie’s great devotion to St. Dominic and the Dominican Saints culminated in her own Resurrection Mass being held on Sunday, March 7, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, at 3:00 P.M. at our Kowloontong House in Hong Kong. It was followed by the familiar trip on the ferry across the harbor to the cemetery in Happy Valley. Sister Dominic Marie died as she had lived and so often signed her letters, Gratefully in Service!