Monthly Archives: April 2015

Cecilia Stanton, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner “Kid”

CeKIDS_CLASS1985cilia “Cecy” Stanton Espinoza came to Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1985 with her parents, Sam Stanton and Cecilia Espinoza and her two younger siblings, Maria Violeta and Victor. 10 days after arriving she turned three years old and was a part of Maryknoll all of her growing up years. She is truly as we warmly say at Maryknoll Lay Missioners, a “Maryknoll Kid”!

EPSON MFP imageCecy graduated from the Salesian Sisters High School in Linares, Chile, a working class school with 50 girls in a class room and all in Spanish. But, the preparation of the sisters was thorough and disciplined. After graduation she applied to Notre Dame and received a very good scholarship that allowed her to study there. After ND she went on to the University of Indiana for a Master’s in Education and currently teaches at Adams High School in South Bend, IN

On Earth Day, April 22 her class and her innovative and participative ways of teaching were featured on the local NBC affiliate in South Bend, WNDU at We invite you to see the work that Cecy does with her students and who she weaves values into her educational plan. Many of these values learned through her Maryknoll experience and the great role models, lay missioners, priests, brothers and sisters that she had in her growing up years.

Leticia de Altamirano, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner “kid”

Recently, Kathy Vargas (’85, Mexico, US) visited Walsh and shared the incredible music career of her and Javier’s daughter, Leticia Vargas Seib. You can see Leticia performing by going to

Vargas Lety4At a very early age she demonstrated interest in singing. At her first exposure to opera, she was captivated by the magic of the music and the voices, and knew what she wanted to do in life. She began her musical preparation when she was 10 years old. She decided to participate in Opera Prima in search of new opportunities and to project and perfect her opera career. “I always felt I had the vocation to be a singer”, she said.

Leticia de Altamirano was recently recognized by CONACULTA (National Council for Culture and the Arts) as Voice of the Mexican Bicentennial celebrated in 2010.35992_440021111214_519226214_6393979_856468_n
Since she started singing, Javier and Kathy have supported her choice of career. There is no doubt that art and music is part of the Seib-Vargas Family. During the 1985 orientation program, and later, there were many occasions on which Javier shared his beautiful tenor voice and his tremendous capacity to create music and stories for his children, as well as for various important moments and experiences of his life. The famous Mexican opera star, Ramon Vargas, is the first cousin of Javier. Ramon has performed in the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as throughout the world. When Pope John Paul II visited Mexico, Ramon sang for him. Those that have been privileged to know Kathy over the years know that she also has a beautiful soprano voice and that she loves to sing. So as we say in Spanish, “la música corre por sus venas” – music runs in their veins.

For those interested in following her career and listening to Lety’s beautiful voice, please visit youtube and search for Leticia Vargas de Altamirano.

CatholicTV’s “This is the day”, Interview with Sam Stanton

MKLM Joins in Praying for the People of Nepal

The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, April 25 continues to be the focus of our thoughts as we pray for those experiencing loss, hurt and need. Please be aware that Catholic Relief Services is expanding its relief activities as a result of the disaster; you can help by clicking here:

Two Maryknoll Lay Missioners have served the people of Nepal in our history. Bridget Massana (’85 Nepal) shared her faith and skills as a Special Education teacher with children in the capitol city.

Dee talking with a group of children outside the temple

Dee talking with a group of children outside the temple

Diedra Barlow (’99 Thailand, Nepal) worked in a hospital in the highland of Nepal from 2003 to 2009 using her skills as a Physical Therapist to bring the love of the Gospel to many who otherwise would have not had such a service.

Please join Bridget, Dee and all Maryknoll Lay Missioners in praying for the people of Nepal in this very difficult moment.


MKLM Present at Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC.

J.Blaney@AdvocacyDaysDCApril15Ecumenical Advocacy Days is an annual encounter of people from more than 20 different Christian traditions, who meet each year to study a specific justice theme. They end the gathering with a visit to their congress persons to advocate change according to gospel values of justice and peace.

For this year’s conference, held April 17-20, the point of discussion and sharing was incarceration and the reality of prisons in the states and around the world. Nearly 1,000 members of the different faith traditions attended this year’s conference. Over 20 percent were Catholics.

Joanne Blaney (’91 Brazil) is pictured here (in the middle). Joanne has served as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner for more than two decades in Brazil. As an educator, she has worked in prison ministry, and along with a team, developed a system of restorative justice and right relationships. Her effective work and capacity to articulate the “what” and “why” of restorative justice has gained her international recognition. Joanne recently joined the MKLM team at its NY base of US operations as Director of Mission Services; responsible for recruitment, orientation, admissions, sending, Returned Missioners and Friends Across Borders. MKLM is very grateful that Joanne responded to our invitation to assume this key position and are confident in her leadership of the team and these important areas. We fully realize what a sacrifice it was to leave her beloved Brazil and incredible work.

Photo: Joanne is pictured at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days, as she catches up with Mary DeLorey (’87 Peru), who currently works for Jesuits on justice issues and Gerry Lee (’84 Venezuela, US/leadership), who is now the Director of the Joint Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns.


Unexpected Babysitter for a Day

Written by Minh Nguyen

I often remind myself to expect the unexpected. Things still hit me by surprise, sometimes to test my compassion level and/or my flexibility in shifting my priorities.

Young Bolivian boy

Kevin, dressed up for the Anniversary of Cochabamba

This happened four days after the New Year, I received an urgent email from a Franciscan friend who does pastoral work at the San Sebastian Women’s prison. She mentioned that 27 year old Aida, who is taking my hairdressing course, requested that I take her 4 year old son to the hospital (in Bolivia, children under 6 still live with their parents inside the prison).

Although it was my day to work at the shelter for the abused and/or abandoned girls, I decided to go to San Sebastian jail to find out about Aida’s urgency. It turned out that her son, Kevin, had diarrhea on New Year’s Eve, this went away after a day however his fever and sweating at night continued. For four days he refused to eat or drink and this worried her. The prison clinic doesn’t have a pediatrician on staff and they wanted Aida to have her son treated on the outside.

The dilemma was, who was going to take Kevin for a checkup? Aida couldn’t, her husband is in San Sebastian prison for men on the next block. Her father is in another prison a half hour away. Her mother is the only one outside and she was busy working, she visits everyone on a regular basis and takes Kevin out sometimes. Her mother was unable to come; the San Sebastian guards and the social workers were all busy. In Aida’s desperation I became her last resource.

I have known Aida for over a year. She is poor, as is her mother. Without education or skills, they make a living by selling little things on the street. In the prison she does cleaning for extra money, as it is difficult to get by with less than a dollar a day provided by the government. I helped Aida pay for her I.V. and medicines last year when she had pancreas surgery. I think she turns to me because I have helped her before. Kevin knows me and she trusts me with her son.

Minh womens prison

The women’s prison

Early next morning, the prison door cracked open just wide enough to let little Kevin to pass through, the police handed Kevin to me and quickly closed the door in fear that even a fly would get out. I thought to myself, how can people trust me so easily? The mother, Kevin and the police. Have I been here long enough for them to trust me? Or is it because they don’t have any other choice besides taking a risk. Even the doctors and nurses did not ask me for an authorization paper, which I had asked Aida to write.

The whole experience was like a miracle to me. I couldn’t imagine how Kevin could be so calm, trusting and understanding without his mother being present. Although he cried at the beginning, he listened to me when I explained the situation to him. He let the nurses examine him and went through the different tests with a bit of whining. I chuckled at how Kevin wanted me to take him behind a big tree for his urine and bowel movement , the specimens required for his lab tests (he’s afraid of the hospital’s bathroom).

We left the hospital by noon to head to my home for some soup. I let him watch a cartoon movie on my laptop and after that we went to the playground. Kevin was like a bird out of his cage. He ran and played until he was exhausted and hungry. I took him to the family restaurant nearby, he ate a little and we took the leftovers to his mom. Kevin fell asleep on my lap on the bus ride back to San Sebastian prison late that evening. It had been a full day for the both of us.

I never thought that I would babysit a little child this way in Bolivia. I am glad that I did. It was a good experience for me. Kevin and I have become closer since that day. I later on was told that I should not have taken the risk of taking Kevin to the hospital. What am I to do? Ignore the need of those I call my brothers and sisters because I fear that something could happen to me?

St. James’. Dawson, MN

Church Talk, April 18

Speaker: Fr. Bill Vos (MKLM Chair)

Location: 1012 Locust St
Dawson, MN

Pastor: Brian W. Oestreich

Masses: Sunday 10:30am

Website: Click here

St. John’s. Appleton, MN

Church Talk, April 19

Speaker: Fr. Bill Vos (MKLM Chair)

Location: 350 Edquist St. South
Appleton, MN

Pastor: Brian W. Oestreich

Masses: Sunday 8:30am

Website: Click here

St. Michael’s. Madison, MN

Church Talk, April 18

Speaker: Fr. Bill Vos (MKLM Chair)

Location: 412 3rd St West
Madison, MN

Pastor: Brian W. Oestreich

Masses: Saturday 5:30pm

Website: Click here

St Mary’s by the Sea, Rockaway OR.

Church Talk, April 11 and 12


Speaker: Karen Bortvedt MKLMkbortvedt

Location: 275 S Pacific St,
Rockaway Beach, OR

Pastor: Rev. Larry Gooley

Masses: Saturday 5:30pm
Sunday 8:30 and 10:30am

Website: Click here

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