YEAR JOINED MKLM: 1978
COUNTRY: Bolivia, Ecuador and United States
FOCUS: Civil and Human Rights and Pastoral Ministry
Bob Short was born in Providence, RI. He joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners with his wife Shirley and daughter Alyssa and Bob in Bolivia. Their second daughter Briana joined them in Ecuador. Their son Zachary was born later on. Bob has a BA in History and Biology at Stonehill College. He also has a MA in linguistics from Notre Dame University and graduate courses in Theology from Fearfield University
Previous to joining MKLM he worked as a Teacher and an Administrator at a Local Low-income Housing. After he left Maryknoll Lay Missioners he was the Director of Mission and Ethics in two Massachusetts based health care systems.
In late spring of 1978 Bob Short and his wife Shirley Mendes traveled to Bolivia with their oldest daughter Alyssa and were greeted at the Cochabamba airport by Father Gordy Fritz, MM, now diseased and lay missioners, Frank and Josie Cuda. Briana and Zachary, their other two children were borne later on. During their years there they found a home in Barrio Juan XXIII, made up primarily of former mining families from the tin mines of Catavi. Bob worked on a leadership development team made up of Maryknollers and Bolivians. Shirley, then a speech therapist, directed her focus to disabled children. Alyssa, an infant, became their ambassador, trump card, and entree into life in the barrio.
In 1981 the couple returned to Maryknoll, NY where Bob joined the Orientation Team of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. His calm and welcoming manner is remembered by many at Maryknoll Lay Missioner who joined then the “program” and went through orientation. Bob has been a mentor and friend to many lay missioners that became part of this new and growing movement of laity in mission with Maryknoll.
He served on the Orientation Team through 1984 when he agreed to be interim director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners for one year. In 1986 they joined a new commitment in Ecuador and after that they returned to the states where Bob worked with the Joint Office of Vocations and Recruitment. In 1996 Bob transitioned out of his direct work with Maryknoll and started a new career in health care within the greater Boston area. Shirley by that time had attained a degree as a Nurse Practitioner and was working in inner-city health clinics in that area. Although not officially a part of Maryknoll in those years, they always stayed connected.
In 2010 and in preparation for their Centennial, the Maryknoll Society asked Bob to return and work in the preparation and execution of the 100th anniversary of Maryknoll. He responded to that call, coordinating and carrying out a meaningful celebration of Maryknoll’s history. Shortly after this successful event Bob was asked to take on the Executive Coordination role for the Maryknoll Affiliates when the Executive Coordinator, another Returned Missioner, Fred Goddard decided to return to the Philippines. Bob has picked up the thread and continues to build up the important Maryknoll Affiliate movement in an important moment of Maryknoll history.
Bob Short is the Executive Coordinator of the Maryknoll Affiliates