“Alleluia – Alleluia – Alleluia
Greetings to each dear one scattered over the face of the earth but bound by mutual love in Christ Our Risen Lord! How lovely it would be if I could hop on a plane and drop in on you!”
So why don’t we drop in? This excerpt from Mother Mary Joseph Rogers‘ Easter letter to all Sisters was written on April 10, 1955. 68 years and one day later, we have the capability of searching to find out what was happening all over the world on that particular Easter Sunday in 1955. We may not be hopping on a plane, as Mother Mary Joseph had originally intended, but we can open a diary and visit with many of the Maryknoll Sisters scattered all over the face of the Earth!
“APRIL 10 A glorious Easter Sunday! Everyone turned out for Mass in his or her best attire. The women plaited their hair in special feast day styles, and many dabbed their faces with spots of red. Monsignor was celebrant at the Solemn High Mass, assisted by Fathers Graser and Collins. Father McGovern delivered the sermon, his second in Kikwaya. The church was so crowded he had to pick his way through to reach the pulpit. Afterwards Monsignor gave the people a special Apostolic Blessing. Miss Hancock, the Education Officer in Musoma, came with Miss Sheehee, a nurse at Musoma Hospital. Later they had tea at our convent. In the evening we all had recreation with the Native Sisters. Our refectory table looked very Easter like with artificial tulips and jonquils encircling a wire bunny.”
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Africa, Tanganyika*, Nyegina, 1955
“APRIL 10 Easter Sunday. Both Fathers Baskerville and Kuhn went out to Bugire and Butuli outstations yesterday in preparation for Mass today, but still the Christians poured into Kowak filling both Masses with unexpected crowds.
The Easter bunny brought the house some good books as a gift, and each of us received those so-useful Plasti-Kleer covers for our Kyriales, Constitutions, and book of Mother Mary Joseph’s conferences. Were we ever grateful for them! The house received some of the same type covers for our library spiritual reading books.
Resurrexit! That was a true Easter cry from each of us as our Willys Station Wagon, on the sick list since June last, rolled into our backyard. Father Smith from Rosana was angel announcing the good tidings. He guarantees, quote Mr. Dupreez, the mechanic, good service; for a while anyway! Sister Joan Michel took a group of the school boarders for a quick ride and announces the car in top condition. What a nice Easter gift!”
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Africa, Tanganyika*, Kowak, 1955
* The nation of Tanzania formed in 1964 when the mainland nation of Tanganyika merged with the newly independent island nation of Zanzibar
“It was indeed a glorious Easter. The entire parish joined in the Lux et Origo Mass, the schola singing the proper and offertory Hymn. Before and after Mass Japanese Easter hymns were sung by all with a real Alleluia ring to it. Photographs taken after Mass and followed by an entertainment. Since there is no organ or piano, Sister hummed the tunes while the youngsters danced. Sister Mary Susanna made an Easter call to one of the sick in the neighborhood. In the afternoon, Fr. Steinbach’s catechist brought a group of newly baptized Christians from Matsuzaka for a look see.”
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Japan, Tsu, 1955
“April 10 Sister Mary Imelda, spending Easter in Macau, sent greetings from herself and Sister Miriam there, with a promise of seeing us within the week. Our Easter morning Mass was glorious; then there was the Easter breakfast, mail and more Masses at St. Teresa’s. Guests came and went, staying just long enough to say ‘Happy Easter.’ At noon all Maryknoll houses in the colony were represented as we sat down to dinner. It was our turn to wish Sister Rose Victor not only the season’s greetings but also a Happy Feast and this we did with song.”
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong Convent & School, 1955
“10 We had a very beautiful Easter, in weather as well as in celebration. After the first Mass, while Sisters John Miriam and Rose Kevin returned to church for Mass with the children, Sr. Rose Andree and her Santa Cruz Sister companion accompanied Father Joseph Smith to the mission station in Labranza for Baptisms and catechism class. At Benediction in church this evening we sang with the Santa Cruz Sisters a beautiful Regina Coeli in three parts. We also did all the Holy Week singing with the Sisters.”
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Chile, Temuco, 1955
“10 – Easter Sunday dawned all too bright and early as far as we were concerned. The ‘Encuentro’ Procession began at 5:00 A. M. and goodly crowd assisted bearing the statues of Our Lady of Sorrows, St. John, and Christ the King. Each life-size statue was carried in a different direction, but met at a pre-determined spot where Our Lady of Sorrows in black attire was quickly changed into Our Lady, Cause of our Joy in white garments upon meeting her Risen Son. Then the three statues were borne back to the Church amid the shouting of many ‘Vivas’ and Glorias and the singing of Hymns. A High Mass followed the Procession and another at 10:00 sung by the Professional girls.
The rest of the day was quiet, with a formal visit by the Pastor, Fr. Thomas Collins and his assistant Fr. Walter Valladon.
~ Maryknoll Sisters Diaries, Bolivia, Riberalta, 1955
I hope that you enjoyed dropping in on the Maryknoll Sisters all over the world on Easter Sunday in 1955! And in the words of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, “May Easter be for you a time of great grace – each and all – and a time of outstanding peace, joy and mutual love! I love you all and pray for you every day and sometimes at night.”
Happy Easter everyone!