Sister Mary Bernard Maloney, MM

Born: October 23, 1883
Entered: May 24, 1920
Died: November2, 1977

Sister Bernard Maloney died on November 2, 1977. She was ninety-four years old and a Maryknoll Sister for fifty-seven years.

Helen Loretta Maloney was born on October 23, 1883 in Susquehanna, Pa.,the youngest of nine children born to Patrick and Mary Maloney. Helen attended the Oakland grade school, completing the eight years of grammar school. After finishing grammar school, she lived with her parents for about four years. Following that period at home, she obtained work as a salesgirl in a store, working steadily at this for nine years. She was subsequently employed as a domestic servant for three years. She described her job at the time of her application as a “waitress” and indicated that she would be glad to do any kind of work she would be asked to do in the newly formed Community. She was 36 years old when she entered Maryknoll on May 24, 1920.

The list of her mission assignments is impressive for its brevity, yet, significant in its simplicity: the Venard, the Motherhouse, Los Angeles, Los Altos, St. Teresa’s and 30 years of office work at the Field Afar magazine. Her last years were spent at Bethany, where she retired in 1971 at the age of 88. She very much enjoyed her last position in the community as the oldest Maryknoller alive and would laugh happily when reminded of this.

We have several letters written to Mother Mary Joseph between 1922 and 1928, which reflect a confidence in and love for Mother. She also shows a remarkable sense of devotion and service to the priests and students which continued throughout her life to permeate her spirit and motivate her generous self-gift to the furthering of Maryknoll’s call to prepare and send missioners overseas and to educate the U.S. Church in its mission responsibilities.

Her way of mission was a hidden and un-sung pilgrimage which never led her to the overseas mission fields. She gave of her talents as best she could and it did not occur to her to expect other considerations in the form of further education or less exhausting activities. The Sisters who worked with her were aware of her joyful disposition and her enthusiasm for her work. Her special devotion to the students endeared her to them and often they would help her with collating her materials for mailing.

Her deep faith and hope sustained her in her fidelity to Jesus and His Mission for fifty-seven years and we give thanks today for her life – for the contribution she has made in the founding and building of our Maryknoll Community.