Sister Mary Corde Lorang, MM

Born: June 16, 1904
Entered: September 24, 1923
Died: February 7, 1978

Sister Mary Corde Lorang remains with us as a legend. The multiplicity of stories which could be told about her by almost every member of the Community supports the fact that she did, indeed, touch the lives of each one of us in one way or another. Her interests were varied and numerous, ranging from weather watching to photography; from journalism to Christmas trees. The beauty of the inner court, which we all have so enjoyed “seeing but not touching” will, I am certain, recall many a tale of flower snatchers in the years to come. There is hardly an alumnus of Maryknoll Teacher’s College or Mary Rogers College who could not tell of experiences both meaningful and difficult during the years spent with Sister Corde as an avid and dedicated science teacher. Her keen, critical, scientific mind was both a gift and a cross. From her entrance into Maryknoll, against her parents’ wishes, until her unexpected death while trying to decipher weather readings during the worst blizzard in New York in 31 years, Sister Corde lived both life and death with wholehearted determination.

Born Ruth Mary Lorang on June 16, 1904 in Blue Island, Ill., she entered an infant Maryknoll in September, 1923. She received the religious name of “Sister Mary Corde” and on the feast of St. Catherine of Sienna, April 30, 1926, she made her first vows. Following her profession, Sister was sent to our Japanese mission in Seattle, Washington as a teacher where she remained until it was time to make her final vows in 1929. At that time she returned to Maryknoll, and began her studies at Catholic University. During her many years of teaching principally at Maryknoll, but also in Hawaii and in Guatemala, she was able to collect sufficient material to put into book form. She was the proud authoress of three books, namely, Maryknoll International Cookbook (co-authored with Sister Mary Carol Cannon), Footloose Scientist In Mayan America, and Burning Ice, all of which manifest the scope of her interests. Not an official or unofficial affair has taken place at Maryknoll during the past years that Sister Corde was not present with her trusty camera snapping pictures from all angles and all perspectives for “posterity”. The pictorial archives which she set up and arranged so painstakingly will serve all of us at Maryknoll for many years to come. Her displays of historical and recent pictures always captured the eye. A familiar early morning sight of recent years has been that of Sister Corde checking her weather readings on the deck and phoning them in to the local station WOR.

The Mass of the Resurrection will be offered in our Chapel on Friday, February 10. In the Office of the Resurrection we pray, “We are looking for Our Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He will take our poor bodies and make them like His glorified body. We pray especially for our Sister Mary Corde. May she live forever in Your light and peace, 0 Lord. May we live holily in the world awaiting with peaceful hope the glorious appearance of Our God. Come, Lord Jesus!”