Year Joined MKLM: 1976
Country: Bolivia and United States
City: Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Ossining, NY
Focus: Sustainable Agricultural Development, Education
Bernard (Bernie) Butkiewicz is originally from Minnesota. Bernie graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agronomy. In 1976 he married Alicia. They have three daughters: Ivanna, born in 1977, Maria Renee, 1979 and Lizzette, 1981. They were all born in Bolivia.
Bernie went to Bolivia in 1971. During his time as a missioner in Bolivia he worked many different jobs. After finishing language studies he worked in a resettlement project in the lowlands of Bolivia. He was there for the next 5 years. In 1976 he was assigned to the Mineros parish, in the province of Santa Cruz working with the agricultural co-op. In 1979 he was assigned to the Savedra Parish, also in Santa Cruz, and worked for the next three years with the small farmers in the parish. In 1982 he and his wife Alicia were assigned to Cochabamba to work with FOTRAMA, a co-op that makes handmade alpaca wool sweaters and other goods for sale within Bolivia and export. In 1985 he was assigned to work with two Fe y Alegria schools where he worked as an agronomist and also helped to coordinate a computer program at a boarding school and an orphanage. Bernie did the financial reports for the Bolivian region for many years. He also helped manage the financial operations of many of the projects he served. In 2003 Bernie and Alicia were asked to assumed organizational responsibilities at the Headquarters in Ossining, N.Y.
Bernie served in the Finance and Administration Department for Maryknoll Lay Missioners. His responsibilities included coordinating various accounting activities and overseeing all organizational credit card transactions. In addition he was responsible for maintaining the organization’s vehicles used for transportation purposes when missioners were visiting from overseas. Bernie was also responsible for sending written correspondence received for the missioners at the home center to their proper overseas address. Bernie’s years of experience as a lay missioner helped providing a vital link between financial operations at Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s home center and mission operations around the world. His organizational and accounting expertise make him a valuable member of the Finance and Administration Department.
Bernie retired in 2010 and transitioned out of contracted membership. In his retirement he continues to support MKLM’s ministries and enjoy his grandchildren.