CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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Maryknoll centenarian goes home to the Father

HONG KONG (SE): Maryknoll Sister Paulita Hoffmann, died on March 14 at Maryknoll, New York, the United States, she was 104-years-old and had been in the consecreated life for 85 years.
 
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 13 August 2014,  she was a swimming instructor, a Red Cross volunteer and an office worker before entering the Maryknoll Congregation at the Maryknoll Motherhouse in Ossining, NY on 4 June 1933.
 
Her first foreign mission assignment was to Meixian, Guangdong, in 1938, where Bishop Francis Ford was the apostolic vicar. She was the last surviving sister to have worked under him. She and the other sisters would leave their convents for as long as two weeks at a time, go to nearby villages and live in friendship with the people, ascertain their needs, comfort the sick, share their food and hospitality. 
 
Sister Hoffman endured the Civil War in China and was placed under house arrest at her convent by the communists in 1950 for 14 months, along with Sister Edith Rietz. She was freed after the death of Bishop Ford on 21 February 1952, and expelled. She arrived in Hong Kong for a short time before returning to Ossining an emergency operation, treatment and a long convalescence.
 
Upon her recovery she was assigned to Taiwan in 1954, where she worked for over 50 years with the Hakka and the indigenous people in Toufen in Miaoli County, Fenglin in Hualien County and Tungshih in Taichung County. 
 
She survived a number of earthquakes, including one, centred in Tungshih—where she was at the time—that claimed some 2,000 lives in 1999.
 
Sister Hoffman always had an upbeat personality She knew who she was and where she wanted to end up. 
 
In speaking of death with her English students one day, she said, “I know where I’m going and I know the way.”
 
She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Centre at Maryknoll, in 2004. There she served the community in a variety of volunteer ministries until 2012 when she retired. 
 
May she rest in peace.

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