Sister Doretta Leonard, M.M., a religious educator and pastoral worker in China for 56 years, including a brief period spent under house arrest when the Communists gained power in that country, is celebrating 70 years with Maryknoll Sisters.
Born 90 years ago in Manhattan as Ann Therese Leonard, she graduated from Bishop McDonnell Memorial H.S., Brooklyn, and attended Fordham School of Education. She worked as a secretary at Metropolitan Insurance Company, Manhattan, and taught at St. Joseph’s School, Astoria, before entering the Maryknoll Sisters in 1945 from St. Joseph’s parish, Astoria.
Following novitiate, she was sent to China, where following a year of language study, she did catechetical work in Wuchow, 1950-51; taught kindergarten and did catechetical work in Kowloontong, 1951-52, and was involved in catechetics in Kowloontsai and Kwun Tong, 1952-68.
She was a member of the parish council at St. Teresa’s Church in Kowloontong, 1970-77, and, following nearly three years speaking about Maryknoll Sisters mission projects at parishes and schools in the U.S., joined the pastoral ministry team at St. Stephen’s parish, Kowloontong, 1980-89.
She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, N.Y., where she worked in their archives, 1989-92. She returned to China, where she worked in pastoral ministry at Our Lady of Carmel Church, Macau, 1992-95, and at St. Patrick’s Church, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1995-2004. She also volunteered at Helping Hands Nursing Home in Kowloontong during this time.
She returned once more to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2005, where she served as part of its Eden Community pastoral care team from 2005-2010. She has been a member of the Chi Rho Community at the Center since 2011.