Sam Stanton

COUNTRY: Chile and United States
FOCUS: Development, Education and Pastoral Care


Sam graduated from Kansas State with a B.S. in Social Work and a minor in Sociology. He also attended graduate classes in Theology Studies at Notre Dame University and has a Certificate in Not for Profit Management from Harvard Business School.


Sam has played a major role in the growth and development of MKLM since 1985. Raised on the great plains of Kansas, Sam has extensive experience in nonprofit organizational administration, and has spent the majority of his life in mission serving those in need.

From 1976-78, he was the Social Ministries Coordinator for Little Flower Parish in South Bend, Indiana, and also worked with the Holy Cross Justice and Peace Commission at Notre Dame. From 1978-82, Sam was a Holy Cross Associate in Chile, where he met and married María Cecilia Espinoza. Before joining Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1985, he was a Program Director for Catholic Social Services in the diocese of Phoenix, Arizona. Continuing his commitment to outreach of the Catholic Church, Sam worked in rural ministry and social development projects in rural southern Chile, serving as Director of Social Services of the Diocese of Linares, Chile, from 1987-91.

In 1991, Sam returned to the United States to serve as the director of what was then the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers Lay Mission Program. During his tenure, the “program” transitioned to the current autonomous entity, Maryknoll Lay Missioners (an Association of Christ’s Faithful in relationship to the Church, and an NGO in the state of New York), and Sam served on its first leadership team. In 1996, Sam and his family returned to Chile and the diocese of Linares, where he resumed his work in social development programs and education, and also served as MKLM’s Chile Regional Coordinator and MKLM’s Latin America Co-Area Coordinator.

In 2004, Sam and his wife, Cecilia, also a Maryknoll lay missioner, returned to the United States, where he served as MKLM’s U.S. East Regional Coordinator and in MKLM’s Advancement Department. Sam was named Executive Director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 2008 and served in that position until December 1, 2017.

He served as the Interim Director of Mission Advancement from December 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018. He guided the fundraising and promotional efforts of Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

Sam strongly believes in the importance of laity fulfilling our MKLM Mission Statement: “Maryknoll Lay Missioners is a Catholic organization inspired by the mission of Jesus to live and work in poor communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas, responding to basic needs and helping to create a more just and compassionate world.”