This seems to be a year of religious celebratory jubilees so let me add another one which has not yet been publicized. I am referring to the Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers and Sisters to whom the Philippine Church owes so much. This year they celebrate 100 years of missionary zeal.

Measured in terms of longevity and by comparison with the early religious missionaries, they are a very young religious group. Moreover, whereas early religious missionaries were European in origin, the Maryknoll Fathers and Sisters are a product of the American Catholic Church.

How they started is described in the Maryknoll website thus: “When two American priests from distinctly different backgrounds met in Montreal in 1910, they discovered they had one thing in common. Father James Anthony Walsh, a priest from the heart of Boston, and Father Thomas Frederick Price, the first native North Carolinian to be ordained into the priesthood, recognized that through their differences, they were touched by the triumph of the human spirit and enriched by encountering the faith experience of others. This was the foundation of their mutual desire to build a seminary for the training of young American men for the foreign Missions.”

Sharing their missionary desire was Mollie Rogers, a graduate of Smith College, who would become Mother Mary Joseph and superior of the Maryknoll women religious.