Sister Miriam Therese Lang, MM

Born: August 12, 1907
Entered: April 5, 1930
Died: October 8, 1985

We gather today in our lovely Maryknoll Chapel to share in the Eucharist of Resurrection for a loved Sister and friend. Sister Miriam Therese Lang died on October 8, 1985 just a day before the 30th Anniversary of the death of Mother Mary Joseph, a woman which she loved above all and resembled not a little.

Sister Cecelia Elise Marie Lang was born in Iowa on August 12, 1907, the only girl in a family of four. She entered Maryknoll after high school and some work experience and, after Profession and Maryknoll Teacher College, she was assigned to Hawaii where she both taught and was principal for twenty years. She got her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Hawaii during this time. She returned to Maryknoll Center in 1955 to be Novice Mistress and then became Dean of the College in 1961. In 1964, Sister Miriam Therese was assigned to Africa where she was headmistress at Marian Secondary School in Morogoro and taught English Literature in Bukoba. Upon her return to the United States in 1972 because of ill health, Sister served the cause of mission in some full and some part-time assignments: As Director of Mission Projects Office, Secretary in the Physical Plant Office, in the Mission Institute, and on a National Seminary Research Project for the Maryknoll Society. Woven in and through all these tasks is the thread of her love of learning — constant workshops, courses each semester at the Seminary, and a full Core Theology Program.

The preceding sketches only the outside events of a life given totally to God and to mission. The woman who lived those events was herself gift and paradox to those around her. She was a teacher who made Shakespeare live, a principal who unified and supported her teachers, a Novice Mistress whose love and deep, hearty laughter reached out to each one who entered in the late 50s; she was also a woman whose love of Maryknoll and fidelity to its call compelled her to accept whatever challenges were presented to her by her Superiors and Sisters. She was ever and always a missioner; when asked to go to Africa at age 57, she did not hesitate, although she was already not well.

Sensitivity was apparently Sister Miriam Therese’ s greatest gift and perhaps her greatest affliction. She felt life’s pain and responded to it, sometimes by withdrawal, always by prayer. A novice leaving the Community, a student’s failure, a friend’ s insensitivity, or her own almost-constant illness reached in, touched and drained her heart. She sought God in these moments and God was faithful to her. She resonated with the lines in Philippians which say: “I know how dearly God loves me and I feel this warn love everywhere within me.”

She translated this “warm love” of God that she felt, into constant graciousness and cheerfulness, and an intense search for ways to welcome God and others into her life. May each of us be moved by the friendship of woman who, three days ago, was in great pain, yet fiercely independent, not wanting to be a trouble to anyone; a woman who, although limited physically, was reading on the day of her death, Miranda’s “Being and the Messiah” and Hassel’s “Radical Prayer”. And may we remember, most of all, the warmth of her greeting to those of us who took a moment to pause to greet her; and may we cherish in our hearts the memory of rich laughter and gentle love.

We begin the Eucharistic Celebration today remembering Sister Miriam Therese’s family and welcoming with great joy, Father Mike Pierce, M.M., who was able to change his own plans to be with us to share in this Eucharistic  Service of love and remembrance of Sister Miriam Therese.