John O’Donoghue

Year Joined MKLM: 2006
Country: Bolivia
City: Cochabamba
Focus: Language and Cultural Studies

Personal Data
John had been a parishioner of St. Timothy’s in Norwood, in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts before joining MKLM in 2006. No stranger to overseas service, John has served in Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, India and Sudan through his work with organizations such as the Peace Corps, Save the Children, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and the U.N. World Food Program.

John earned his B.S. in Accounting from Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1980. In 1985, he graduated from Cambridge University, England with a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies.

John has served with MKLM in East Timor and Kenya.


John is currently working in an Hiv/Aids shelter, with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity, in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Many years ago, John had worked with Mother Teresa and her sisters in Calcutta, India, and he remarked, “that it is somewhat ironic that I have now teamed up with the sisters again in Bolivia, South America.

Sister Tilda, the sister-in-charge at the Hiv/Aids shelter, told John, that the majority of the men are suffering from depression, and that anything he could do to “keep their spirits up” would be a great help. The Hiv/Aids shelter has a capacity for 21-patients, and currently there are 15-patients. Not all of them suffer from Hiv/Aids, and some of them suffer from broken limbs as a result of industrial accidents, while a few others have serious respiratory problems. The majority of these men have been pretty much abandoned. Here in Bolivia, there is still a terrible stigma attached to anyone with Hiv/Aids.

John sees it as part of his daily duties to try and rebuild self-esteem, self-confidence, and bring a sense of hope back into the lives of the patients, and eventually for those who will be discharged, to try and help them stand on their feet again and provide some kind of assistance, be it financial or otherwise, to help them get back into the work environment.