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.