Sister Sarah Fogarty, MM

Born: August 6, 1915
Entered: June 17, 1935
Died: August 16, 2009

Sister Sarah Fogarty died peacefully at about 9:30 a.m., Sunday, August 16, 2009, in the Maryknoll Sisters’ Residential Care facility. She was 94 years of age and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 74 years.

Sarah Theresa Fogarty was born on August 6, 1915, in Chicago, Illinois, to Catherine (Harper) and John J. Fogarty. She had two brothers, Walter J. and John J. and two sisters, Sister Mary Fogarty, Sisters of Charity of Blessed Virgin (BVM) and Mrs. Catherine Green.

Sarah studied at St. Mary’s High School in Chicago, graduating in 1933. The following year she attended Mundelein College. In 1935 she entered the Maryknoll Sisters from Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in  Chicago. At her Reception she received the religious name Sister Mary Gregoria. She made her First Vows at Maryknoll on January 6, 1938, and her Final Vows on the same date in 1941 in Heijo, Korea. Sarah later received her Bachelor of Education degree from Mary Rogers College, in New York.

In 1938, Sister Sarah was assigned to Korea. She served in Pengyang for two years, then in Chinnampo. Since Korea at that time was under the Japanese, Sister studied Japanese for two years. In December 1941, at the beginning of the Second World War, she was interned at Yeng You. In August 1942, she, along with other Maryknoll Sisters, was repatriated to the US on the famous ship, the Gripsholm.

From 1942 to 1945, while residing at the Motherhouse and Bethany convent, Sister worked at the Maryknoll Society’s Field Afar office. In 1946, Sister was assigned to St. Louis, Missouri, where she taught for one year. Sister Sarah was assigned to Hawaii the following year, where until 1980, she taught various grades at parish schools in Waialua, Kalihi, Waikiki, Punahou and Kaneohe. Years later, a former student wrote these heartfelt words of gratitude: “I find myself guiding my students as Sister did me. I know she held the divine gift of teaching and took it seriously.”

From 1980 to 1982, Sister volunteered her services to teach English as a Second Language to immigrants from Asia, at the Aloha Immigrant Center. Her work as a generous volunteer won her public recognition from the State of Hawaii. In 1987, Maryknoll School in Yokkaichi, Japan, was badly in need of a short term Maryknoll Sister teacher. Sarah read of the urgent request in the Japan regional newsletter.  Early in her mission life in Korea, Sister Sarah had taught Japanese students. She answered the request, offering to go to Japan, as a volunteer while still retaining her membership in the Central Pacific Region. The response from the Japan Region was immediate: “I can’t begin to tell you how happy and enthusiastic everyone is to learn of your interest. Three of our community here know you personally and their reaction was such JOY that they were all talking at once!”

Having fulfilled the short term need in Japan, Sister Sarah returned to Hawaii in 1990, where she continued to volunteer for anything that she thought would bring people to God.

Sister Sarah transferred from Hawaii to Monrovia in 1998 where she  lived until failing health necessitated her return in 2003 to Maryknoll Residential Care facility in New York. Sister Sarah chose Korea and East Timor as her Prayer Ministry.

A highlight of this time was the dedication on September 30, 2007, on the Maryknoll Seminary grounds, of a memorial on the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese at Pengyang, North Korea. The memorial was a gift from the Catholics of South Korea. Sisters Sarah and Elenita Barry, the only two surviving Maryknoll Sisters from the mission in Pengyang attended the ceremony. They were delighted to greet the nearly 800 Koreans present at Maryknoll for the dedication.

Sister Sarah maintained a remarkable closeness to her family through correspondence and weekly phone calls. This loving support carried over in Sister Sarah’s relationships with her students and her Maryknoll Sisters and the care givers in Residential care.

We also welcome and are grateful to our Maryknoll brother, Fr. Kevin Hanlon, who will preside at this Liturgy of Christian burial.