Two Brooklyn-born Maryknoll Sisters will celebrate their 60th year in the congregation this year.
Sister Teresa Lilly, M.M., will mark her 60th jubilee on Sunday, Feb. 14, with a Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, N.Y. She is one of 24 Maryknoll Sisters marking 60 years with the congregation in 2016.
Twenty-one other sisters will celebrate 70 years with the congregation at the Mass, as will four sisters marking 75 years, and one sister, 80 years, with Maryknoll. Seven other sisters will mark 50 years with Maryknoll at a separate Mass on Sunday, May 29, 2016, also at the center.
Born in Brooklyn, Sister Teresa entered Maryknoll in 1956, after working for eight years as a nurse at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Williamsburg.
A 1945 graduate of St. Agnes Academy, College Point, she received her registered nurse credentials from St. Catherine’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1948. She made her first vows as a sister in 1959, receiving the religious name Sister Marius, and her final vows in 1965 in San Pedro Necta, Guatemala, where she worked at the clinic for Monte Maria Academy, 1961-68.
In 1969, she went to El Salvador, where she was involved in formation of basic Christian communities in San Salvador until 1973. She then returned to the Maryknoll Center in Ossining, where she was part of the congregation’s mission education team, building world awareness in parishes throughout the United States 1974-75.
Sister Teresa then returned to Guatemala, where she worked in formation of women on the diocesan level in San Pedro Sacatepequez, 1976-1982, and in Santa Elena, El Peten, 1982-86.
Returning once more to the Sisters Center in 1986, she worked among elderly and infirm sisters in the assisted living unit until 1989. She then returned to Guatemala, working again with women’s groups in El Milagro, 1989-94 and with Christian base communities in San Jose, 1994-2004.
Sister Teresa returned to the Sisters Center in 2004, working in data entry there until 2007, when she retired, residing at the Maryknoll Sisters Convent in Monrovia, Calif., 2007-2013. She currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, where she serves in a ministry of prayer for mission worldwide.
Theologian Sister Helen Graham will celebrate her 60th jubilee in the Philippines, where she has served for nearly 50 years.
Brooklyn-born Sister Helen has used her profound knowledge of the Scriptures to shape the leaders of tomorrow at formation institute, universities and seminaries in the Philippines, as well as around the world.
Before entering Maryknoll from St. Margaret’s parish, Middle Village, in 1956, she attended the parish school and St. Nicholas Commercial H.S., Williamsburg, where she was a member of the Leo Honor Society. She graduated from Newtown H.S., Elmhurst, in 1954.
In high school, she was vice president of the Little Flower Mission Club and member, then vice president, of the Legion of Mary at St. Margaret’s. She worked as a stenographer and teletype operator for Moore McCormack Shipping Lines, Manhattan, for two years and was involved in the Legion of Mary, as well as serving on the Legion’s Queens Curia.
Following her formations she was a secretary for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, 1959-63. She then enrolled at Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, where she earned a bachelor’s in Education in 1967. She later earned a master’s in theology from Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, in 1971; an advanced master’s in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, Calif., in 1983; and a Ph.D. in Biblical Theology from Loyola School of Theology in 1995.
She also studied at the Bat Kol Institute in Jerusalem, where Christians study the Torah within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish sources, ancient and modern, with the help of Jewish and Christian scholars.
After attending summer classes at Union Theological Seminary, Manhattan, she was assigned to the Philippines. Her work there began in a mostly Muslim area in Datu Piang, Cotobato, Mindanao. After a year, she was assigned to Maryknoll College, Quezon City, which eventually became the Institute for Formation and Religious Studies in the early 1990s.
In the late 1960s and early ’70s, she was involved with Bible study groups with the barrio people of Panson, Quezon City, and also taught Scripture at Our Lady of Angels Major Seminary, Novaliches, Quezon City, 1975-1979, and at the Regional Major Seminary and the Formation Institute for Religious in Davao, Mindanao, 1979-82.
From 1984 to 1987, she taught courses at St. Mary’s Theologate in Gango, Ozamis, Mindanao; Loyola School of Theology, Quezon City; and Maryhill School of Theology, Quezon City.
During Martial Law in the Philippines (1972-1986), she became co-founder of the Task Force Detainees, a mission partner of the Association of Major Superiors of the Philippines, which was involved in visiting political detainees, helping their families and recording accounts of torture and disappearances.
Sister Helen continues to teach Sacred Scriptures in the Philippines, at the Institute for Formation and Religious Studies, Loyola School of Theology and Maryhill School of Theology, all in Quezon City. She also conducts evening Bible study groups, workshops and seminars in the Philippines and other parts of the world, and has been doing so since 1984.