Year Joined MKLM: 2006
Focus: Health, Pastoral Care
Project(s): Missionaries of Charity, HIV/AIDS Shelter
People Served: Men with HIV/AIDS and other health issues
Project Goal(s): Accompany the sick to improve their well-being
In Bolivia, John serves in a men’s HIV/AIDS Shelter with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Some men have broken limbs and others serious respiratory problems. The majority of these men have been abandoned. There is still a terrible stigma attached to anyone with HIV/AIDS in Bolivia. The majority of the men suffer from depression, so John tries to “keep their spirits up.”
Part of John’s daily responsibilities is to help men rebuild their self-confidence, self-esteem, and bring a sense of hope back into their lives. He tries to enable those being discharged to stand on their own two feet again and get back into the work environment.
Many years ago, John worked directly with Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa, and her Sisters in Calcutta, India. John reflects, “It is somewhat ironic that I have now teamed up with the Sisters again here in Bolivia.”
John is originally from County Tipperary, Ireland. Before joining Maryknoll, he lived in Norwood, MA, and was a parishioner at St. Timothy Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston. He has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bentley College in Waltham, MA, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies from Cambridge University, England. John worked in India, Sri Lanka, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, and Sudan with organizations such as Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, the U.S. Peace Corps, Save the Children, and the U.N. World Food Program.
With Maryknoll Lay Missioners, John has previously served in Aileu, East Timor, and Kitale, Kenya. At the St. Francis of Assisi workshop in East Timor, he administered a program that made specialized shoes, hand-powered tricycles and wheelchairs for the disabled. In Kenya, John served in the Gender Department of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale, where he worked with women’s groups and men’s groups on income generating projects and microfinancing to help alleviate poverty and increase a person’s self-reliance.