Sister Dorothy Walsh, MM

Born: February 25, 1908
Entered: May 24, 1926
Died: December 18, 1994

In the presence of a group of Sisters gathered around her bedside, Sister Dorothy Walsh, quickly and faithfully, responded to the invitation, ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely” Shortly after receiving the Anointing of the Sick, on December 18, 1994 at 9:25 p.m., these words from the Song of Songs became a reality for Sister Dorothy.  Her time of Advent waiting is fulfilled. Now she enjoys the face of God forever.

Dorothy Elizabeth was born to Ambrose and Elizabeth Heckman Walsh on February 25,1908, in Kokomo, Indiana. She grew up with one brother, who became a Maryknoll missionary priest, and three sisters: one who entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and was known as Sister Madonna. She attended St. Patrick’s Parish School and after graduation from Kokomo High School attended night school to pursue studies in Bookkeeping. A year later, on May 24, 1926, she responded to God’s call to enter Maryknoll.

Sister Dorothy made her First Profession on October 28, 1928 and her Final Profession on October 28, 1931 at Maryknoll, New York. After First Profession she was assigned to study at Mt. St. Vincent’s College in New York City, where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math. In 1932 she began her teaching career in Hawaii, followed by eight years at Maryknoll Convent School in Hong Kong. After being interned for eight months during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, in 1941, she worked in China. Her Chinese mission experience was interrupted in January 1945 when she was assigned to work in India.

In 1949 Sister Dorothy returned to the States to visit and share her mission experiences with her family and friends. She then returned to Hong Kong where she remained until 1982, except for two years in Taiwan, continuing to serve in the field of education as teacher, Administrator, and Principal. Sister Dorothy was convinced that a good education is one of life’s greatest gifts. She was also appointed Superior of the Blue Pool Road Convent and served as Regional Bookkeeper for many years. Her whole life was one of total dedication to the needs of the Congregation and the people with whom she was in mission.

In 1969, a fall and fractured hip necessitated Sister Dorothy to retire from active teaching. She moved to Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital convent and continued to use and share her skills and talents, smiles and gentleness with the Sisters, hospital staff and patients. It was at this time that her sister, a nurse by profession, lovingly volunteered a year of service at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital, helping to make Sister Dorothy’s transition period smooth and joyful.

Sister Dorothy, a seasoned missionary, shared her personal feelings regarding her mission journey in these words: “Each new assignment served as a reminder that this is no abiding city and that our hearts must grow to love the new souls while still cherishing those we must leave behind”. Indeed, Sister Dorothy lived this throughout her missionary life.

Sister Dorothy enjoyed her sense of freedom and independence. She was a fearless leader, tall in stature and great in virtue. When asked by the Chinese people if she was six feet tall, she with her great sense of humor, would reply, “Oh, I’m only 5 feet 12 inches tall!” On one occasion, when the Sisters were awakened in the middle of the night by uninvited guests, they called upon Sister Dorothy for help. Sister Dorothy, in her ever-generous manner, dressed in nightgown and veil, went to check out what was happening. The visitors, seeing her height and fearlessness, ran faster than anyone could imagine. Sister Dorothy and all the Sisters were grateful that the ‘visitors’ had already had the door open ready to depart.

Sister returned to the Center in 1982 for Renewal and did a year of Congregational Service before retiring in 1984. She was assigned to our Residential Care Unit in 1990. In her quiet, gentle and loving manner, and the ever-present sparkle in her eyes, she won the hearts of all whose lives touched hers.

Today we are biding farewell to one of our ‘giants’, a great missionary, a friend, and a sister who, with her life and witness, prepared the way for each of us. We welcome Sister Dorothy’s sister,and her nephew. We are grateful for your presence with us today. We welcome also, our Maryknoll brother, Father Raymond Nobiletti, who will lead us in the Liturgy of Resurrection. Let us rejoice and be glad for Sister Dorothy’s eternal encounter with her Beloved God.