Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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PHILADELPHIA – Sister Mary Elizabeth Johnson, a Medical Mission Sister in Hartford, died on May 8, 2014, at the age of 90. Her funeral Mass was celebrated at her community’s North American headquarters in Philadelphia on May 12.

Sister Mary Elizabeth moved to Hartford in 1980 and performed administrative duties at the Hartford Seminary Foundation and its Educational Resources Center. She also administered her community’s music, books and tour requests for many years.

She received a Master of Arts degree in religious studies in 1991 from Hartford Seminary.

Sister Mary Elizabeth graduated from St. Margaret Academy in Minneapolis in 1941 and received her registered nursing degree from St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in La Crosse, Wis., before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1946.

She made her first vows in 1949.  In 2009, she celebrated her 60th anniversary.

After serving as a missionary at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 1949, she received her midwifery certification, became a hospital supervisor and later worked in Karachi, Pakistan, setting up an operating room and central supply. In the late 1950s, she began serving as supervisor and administrator at Holy Family Hospital in Dacca, Pakistan.

In the mid-1960s, Sister Mary Elizabeth returned to the United States, where she became involved in the business and public relations aspects of the Medical Mission Sisters. She also served in many leadership positions for her community. In the early 1970s, she became part of its ministry team, which provided music and workshops designed to enhance communal worship and prayer.

She also traveled twice to the Cambodian/Thailand border to participate in relief efforts for Thai refugees.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.