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Bravery in Service: The Inspiring Story of Maryknoll Sister Teresita Perez MM by Mian Arcega

Sister Teresita Perez with her brothers, Richard and Cesar

Hearing about someone celebrating their Golden Jubilee Anniversary in their profession seems unthinkable to a young person like me. In an age where priorities keep changing by the minute and distractions are present in every corner, staying in one job for fifty years – let alone five years! – seems like such a tremendous feat. 
But Sister Teresita Perez did just that. On September 24, 2017, Sister Teresita celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Maryknoll Sister. That means fifty years of devotion and service to her calling. For me, it means fifty years of bravery.

As Miriam College launches its campaign Girls Be Brave!, it is fitting that we learn more about the life of this strong and spirited woman. I had the privilege of exchanging numerous emails with Sister Teresita to write this article. Reading her stories was like being transported to another place and time. It was refreshing to read about her adventures as a Maryknoll Sister – what inspired her to join the order in 1967, her experiences teaching in the Philippines, and mostly doing pastoral care in Peru.

The more I read, the more I felt Sister Teresita’s courage. Her life was spent doing things I never imagined doing myself – living alone in a foreign country, immersing oneself in a completely different culture, and perhaps most difficult of all, showing compassion and kindness to strangers even when they themselves do not want to be cared for. In Sister Teresita I found a friend and an inspiration. 

As I write this article, I realized that the best way for me to tell her story is to share it in her words. I hope you “hear her voice” like I did, and may it give you a glimpse into the blessed and purpose-filled life of a Maryknoll Sister.

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Maryknoll Sister Teresita Perez celebrates her 50th Golden Jubilee

Maryknoll Sister Teresita Perez, who taught at Miriam College, celebrates her 50th Golden Jubilee this year. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from the Archdiocese of Manila in 1967 and was assigned to Peru two years later. 
After 24 years as a missioner in Peru, Sister Teresita was assigned to the Philippines in 1993, where she shared the richness of her mission experiences as well as learned about all that had changed in her absence. At Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll College), she taught Theology and Spanish and organized the Campus Ministry Office of the Higher Education Unit, then serving 2,200 students. 
Presently, she resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, New York where she remains an active volunteer for the local community.  She volunteers as a bi-lingual interpreter at Brookside Elementary School and at Maryknoll Neighbors Link (a local immigration program). She also volunteers at the Ossining Library in their “Reading Buddies Program” to help people who need to improve their reading skills. 
Right photo shows Sr. Teresita with her brothers Richard and Cesar along with the son and daughter-in-law of her brother Cesar and his wife Lourdes.

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