CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A pillar of strength mourned

MARYKNOLL (SE): Missionary, educator, peace and social justice advocate, Sister Mary-Lou Teufel, passed away on September 29 at the age of 94 after 63 years in the Maryknoll Society.
 
Born in United States of American (US) city of Cincinnati, Ohio, on 19 December 1922 to Mary (Gosink) Teufel and Anthony Teufel, Sister Teufel had two brothers; Richard and John; as well as three sisters; Rita, Clare and Catherine, all of whom predeceased her.
 
A graduate of Our Lady of Angels High School in Ohio in June 1940, she moved onto the University of Cincinnati before transferring to the University of Minnesota in 1943, where she took out a certificate in aeronautical engineering.
 
Between 1944 and 1946 she attended Ohio State University completing a bachelor’s degree in history and one in science in education.
 
Then later in life as a Maryknoll sister, she returned to university in 1967 and completed a master’s in mathematics and education.
 
Her wide and varied work experience saw her in jobs ranging from flight research assistant at Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corporation in Columbus, to teaching high school and travelling to Japan and Korea as the recreation director in the Department of Army Special Services between 1948 and 1952.
 
Shortly after her return to the US, Sister Teufel entered the Maryknoll Sisters’ Novitiate on 2 February 1954.
 
At her initial reception she received the religious name of Sister Maryam. She made her first profession on 8 September 1956 and her final profession took place six years later in Hong Kong on 8 September 1962.
 
Initially assigned to the staff of the Maryknoll Sisters School in Kowloon, she taught from 1957 to 1970. Then in 1970, she was elected to the Maryknoll Sisters Central Governing Board in New York, where she worked until 1975.
 
Then it was to The Philippines where she was involved in a special assignment in Manila facilitating the transfer of the administration of the Maryknoll College from the sisters to a lay foundation and lay administration.
 
The name of the school was changed to Miriam College and after tying up all the loose ends, Sister Teufel returned to Hong Kong where she was assigned to the Business Office of Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital from 1976 to 1982 and was a member of the governing board from 1976 to 1999.
 
During this time she also served as the associate director of the Asian Centre for the Progress of Peoples in Hong Kong from 1983 to 1999; as well as the editor of the Centre’s publication, ASIALINK.
 
The current secretary of the Centre, James Tan, remembers her as a great inspiration to all who worked with her and was, for many years, the rock to which they were anchored during turbulent times.
 
She was also an advisor to the Alumnae Association of the Maryknoll Sisters Secondary School from 1976 to 1999.
 
In October 1999, Sister Teufel was moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Centre in New York where she joined the Chi Rho Community and was actively involved in a Prayer Ministry for the Hong Kong Macau Region.
 
In 2010, due to her need for greater health care, she went to the Maryknoll Sisters Residential Care Unit where she died in the company of her niece, Margie Kuntz, and many sisters from hercongregation.
 
May she rest in peace.

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