Sister Rosa Chang-Liang, MM

Born: September 28, 1941
Entered: September 2, 1965
Died: February 17, 2004

A little before midnight on February 17, 2004 in our Maryknoll Residential Care, Sister Rosa Chang-Liang’s illness was transformed into the joy of the Eternal life. She was 62 years of age and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 38 years.

Rosa Chang-Liang was born in Guatemala City on September 28, 1941 to Roman Chang Piu and Ana Liang, who had immigrated to Guatemala from Kwangtung, China. She had four sisters and four brothers. Rosa attended Colegio Europeo for two years and later Colegio Sagrado Corazon, a catholic secondary school in Guatemala City. It was there she became interested in the Catholic faith through her contact with the Dominican priests who taught at the secondary school. Rosa, who was a Buddhist, at 18 years of age studied the Catholic religion and was baptized on March 5, 1960 in Our Lady of Remedios Church in Guatemala City. Soon afterward she joined the Third Order Dominicans in Guatemala.

In 1961, Rosa graduated from Colegio Sagrado Corazon as a bilingual secretary. She used her secretarial skills at the Bank of London and Montreal and A. Lamport & Co. in Guatemala City. During this time she continued her studies at the Instituto Indolatino where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1963.

Rosa’s awareness of Maryknoll was through her contacts with the Maryknoll Fathers in Guatemala City. Learning that the Maryknoll Sisters were Dominicans sparked Rosa’s desire to join us. After expressing her interest to the Maryknoll Sisters in Guatemala City, Rosa was sent to live and teach for a year in our school in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico in 1963. She entered Maryknoll on September 2, 1965 at Topsfield, Massachusetts. Rosa made her First Profession of Vows at Maryknoll, New York, on June 24, 1968. Her first assignment was to return to her home country to teach high school students at our school, Colegio Monte Maria, in Guatemala City. She made her Final Profession in Guatemala City on October 2, 1977.

While teaching at Colegio Monte Maria, Rosa studied psychology at the University Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City and earned a Licentiate in Psychology in 1971. Besides teaching at Colegio Monte Maria, Rosa also offered her services in the school’s Psychological Services Office. She then came to the United States to pursue studies in psychology at the University of Kansas. In 1974 she earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology and two years later was awarded a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Rosa returned to Guatemala in 1976 to provide psychological services to the students at Colegio Monte Maria. She easily developed rapport with the children and was an excellent diagnostician of learning disabilities and psychological problems. While working at Colegio Monte Maria, Rosa held a professorship in Clinical Psychology at her alma mater, the University of Rafael Landivar, as well as at the University of Francisco Marroquin. She wrote the following about her work at the universities: “I love my work of teaching and advising advanced graduate students of psychology, psychotherapy and diagnosis. I hope to improve the local training of psychotherapists at the doctoral level and to personally influence the formation of professionals.”

Rosa came to Maryknoll, N.Y. in 1986 to do Congregational Service in the Research and Planning Office for three years. In 1989, she worked in the Congregation’s Personnel Department and set up the Immigration Office. Rosa also developed the first manual for immigration procedures for our Sisters. She then worked in Archives until 1994.

When Rosa requested to be assigned to the Center in 1993 she said: “This is the best Region I can serve at this time.” Recognizing her failing health and wanting to remain at Maryknoll for her care she applied for citizenship and became a US citizen in 1994.

In 1996, Rosa was assigned to our Residential Care Facility where she continued to say “Yes” to her commitment sharing in Christ’s mission through her illness. She so well expressed this commitment in 1968 as she prepared for First Profession: “I realize that the day when I will pronounce my first vows will be a very important step in my growth towards, and in Christ. I see that this Christ-centered growth process began when God first extended his invitation to me, to follow Him in the religious and missionary way of life, and when I dared to say yes. Since then, I hope that with the aid of God’s grace I have not ceased to grow, and that after I have expressed publicly my desire to give myself to God in this way of life, I will continue still to grow. Always stimulated by God’s continuous invitation to keep saying yes. I do not feel such a total gift can be explained in purely rational terms, but can only be explained in terms of a commitment of self to a Person, and want my commitment to be to the Person of Christ.“

Many Sisters remember Rosa as shy, quiet, an intelligent woman with a keen interest in study, talented in secretarial work, ingenious and creative in her sewing, she had general organizational skills, ability to take a firm hold of a situation and carry out projects with responsible leadership that was efficient and refined. Rosa was an avid reader of magazines especially the ones related to her profession.

We extend our gratitude to all the Staff in Residential Care for their goodness and kindness in caring for our Sister Rosa. We remember our Sisters in the Guatemala Mountain Region. The Sisters to whom Rosa was specially linked through her Prayer Ministry. They now have a wonderful new advocate in heaven.

I quote an excerpt from a prayer that Le Kheng Chen wrote which was found in Rosa’s file. Perhaps better than anything else, it expresses the deepest longing and acceptance that lay quietly in our Sister Rosa’s heart during the last eight years of her life. “Lord Jesus, I have learned what it means to be humbled and emptied so that your everlasting love can enter and fill my faith and feeble heart. Your everlasting love will enable me to love again, suffer with you again, and rejoice with you again. Amen.” Chen Le Kheng, M.M., 1989

We offer our deepest sympathy to Sister Rosa’s sisters and her brothers and the women from her entrance group who are with us to celebrate Rosa’s entrance into Eternal life.

We welcome our Maryknoll brother, Father Carl Meulemans, who will preside at this morning’s Liturgy of Christian Burial.