Founder of Global Missionaries the Maryknoll Sisters to be Celebrated Feb. 27-28
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—One hundred years after Mollie Rogers graduated from Smith College and subsequently founded the first order of Catholic women missionaries devoted to service overseas, her legacy will be celebrated with a symposium about work that continues around the world.
Mollie Rogers Centennial Conference Feb. 27-28 will observe the founding of the Maryknoll Sisters, a group committed to crossing boundaries—whether cultural, social, religious, geographic or economic—for justice and advocacy. Today more than 600 Maryknoll Sisters work with underserved populations in 31 countries.
“They’re working in Africa, Asia and Latin America—wherever there is a need,” said Elizabeth Carr, Smith College Catholic chaplain. “They are true advocates for global justice and social compassion.”
The conference—which includes a keynote address about access to AIDS and HIV prevention and treatment, as well as two panel discussions on current missionary efforts—is free and open to the public.
Beginning at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, in the Weinstein Auditorium of Wright Hall, Smith College President Carol T. Christ and Maryknoll President Sister Sue Moore will give remarks about Rogers’ vision and her legacy. Sister Rosemary Huber will then talk about “Individuality Versus Individualism,” followed by a panel discussion among women who have worked in Africa, Venezuela and Japan, facilitated by Carr, the Catholic chaplain.
At 4:30 p.m., Bishop Timothy McDonnell of Springfield, accompanied by the Rev. Christopher Connelly, will celebrate Mass at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel.
At 8 p.m., in the Weinstein Auditorium of Wright Hall, Sister Mary Annel, who works in El Salvador, will deliver the keynote address “HIV/AIDS: Reconsidering Sexuality and Cultural Norms.” Annel, who earned a medical degree from the Marquette School of Medicine and a master’s in public health from Tulane University, serves the sick and needy in Central America.
The following day, Feb. 28, at 4:30 p.m., Annel will moderate a panel discussion titled “HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment: Who Gets Access?” in Weinstein Auditorium of Wright Hall. Panelists will include Christine White-Ziegler, Smith College associate professor of biological sciences; Susan Weissert, chair of HIV/AIDS Maryknoll Task Force and liaison to the United Nations; and Avette Richards, a member of the Smith Class of 2005, who worked with women infected with HIV in Guyana.
When she graduated from Smith in 1905, Mollie Rogers reflected that the college was one of the most important influences in her life and missionary call. While at Smith and inspired by the example of young Protestant women sent as missionaries to China, Rogers started a Catholic mission club, which exists today as the Newman Association.
Rogers joined Father James A. Walsh of Boston and Father Thomas F. Price of North Carolina in starting the Maryknoll orders.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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