Two Maryknoll Sisters go their final rest

Sister Alice Wengrzynek
HONG KONG (SE): The Maryknoll Sisters announced on May 18 that Sister Alice Wengrzynek died at the Maryknoll Sisters Centre, Maryknoll, New York, the United States. She was 85-years-old and had been in the consecrated life for 66 years.

Born on 29 September 1934 in Simpson, Pennsylvania, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters novitiate on 2  September 1953, making her first profession the Maryknoll Sisters Centre on7  March 1956 and her final vows on 7 March 1962.

In 1958, Sister Wengrzynek enrolled in Mary Rogers College, in Maryknoll, where she studied for a year. She then earned a Diploma and Registration in X-Ray Technology at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962.

Her first overseas mission was to Changhua, Taiwan, in 1962, where she engaged in clinic, youth and parish work until 1968 when she was assigned to Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in Hong Kong, Wong Tai Sin, where she was director of Hospital Admissions and the Medical Records Department until 1972.

She then served as executive secretary for Hospital Administrator and Board of Directors; part-time secretary for the Maryknoll Fathers Regional Superior and secretary for Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences and Caritas International from 1973 to 1981.

From 1981 to 1986 Sister Wengrzynek worked with mentally and physically disadvantaged children in Hong Kong, teaching them skills and techniques to be self-sufficient in their home environments. During this time, she also responded to an invitation from education departments and governments in various places such as Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan and India, to help conduct educational workshops.

She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Centre in 1986 and worked in the Archives Department for two years. She also cared for her elderly mother until 1989 after which she returned to Hong Kong, doing pastoral work in Hung Shui Kui, Yuen Long, until 1991.

Sister Wengrzynek subsequently returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Centre and was secretary to the then-president of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation Sister Claudette LaVerdiere from 1991 to 1996. She continued her secretarial duties to the succeding president, Sister Helene O’Sullivan, from 1996 to 2002.

She spent the next few years working as the curator of the Sisters collection in the Maryknoll Mission Archives Department until 2008 and also volunteered around the Maryknoll Sisters centre until 2016 when she fully retired.

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Due to the Covbid-19 coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be scheduled for future date when group gatherings are deemed safe. 

May she rest in peace.

Sister Andrée Normandin
HONG KONG (SE): Maryknoll Sister Andrée Normandin, died on May 1, at the Maryknoll Motherhouse, Maryknoll, New York, the United States (US). She was one month short of her 98th birthday and had been in the consecrated life for 73 years.

Born on 2 June 1922, she joined the Maryknoll Sisters on 5 October 1946, making her first vows on 6 April 1949 and her final vows on 6  April 1952.

From 1949 to 1951, she studied Mandarin (Putonghua) at Yale University in preparation for an assignment to China. However, after the communists closed to country’s doors to the world, she worked at the Maryknoll Fathers secretariat until 1954 when she was assign to Taiwan—then still part of the Maryknoll Sisters’ South China Region.

Sister Normandin was first assigned to the Diocese of Taichung, where she learned the Taiwanese-Guianese language, engaged in pastoral work and trained catechists, From 1961 to 1968, she was assigned to work with the indigenous people of the mountain area of Wushe.

From 1968 to 1971 ,she taught English at Feng Chia and Providence University in Taichung City. She also supervised the Maryknoll Sisters hostel for young college women in Taichung. At this time the South China Region decided to divide into two separate entities: Hong Kong and Taiwan, and she was named the first superior for Taiwan. She was later the first regional coordinator, then also on the Regional Governing Board and was elected Taiwan’s delegate to the 1968 Chapter of Affairs.

Sister Normandin returned to the Maryknoll Centre in 1971, attending Rogers College for a year before transferring to Seton Hall where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies. 

Returning to Taiwan in 1976, she began a ministry to factory workers studying their needs and general working conditions. She then worked for the next 15 years with the Franciscan SMIC Sisters— known in Taiwan as the  “Sheng Kung” Sisters—in St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Kaohsiung.

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In 1990 she returned to the US and the Maryknoll Sisters Central Governing Board appointed coordinator/administrator of the sisters’ retirement home in Monrovia, California. She returned to Taiwan in September 1999 just in time experience the earthquake that killed over 2,000 people. 

Over the next five years she devoted herself to clearing out the Regional files and writing the history of the Maryknoll Sisters in Taiwan. At the same time, she did HIV/AIDS counselling work.   

On 1 October 2004 Sister Normandin returned to the retirement house in Monrovia, as a resident. Later, in 2014, she returned to the Motherhouse where she died. All who knew her hold deep gratitude in their hearts for her years of life and ministry with them.

Sister Normandin generously donated her body to science.  However, due to the Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic, this wish cannot be granted. Arrangments for a memorial Mass will be made later as conditions permit.

May she rest in peace.

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