Meet our Leadership Team
The 10th MMM Congregational Chapter, held in April 2015, elected a Congregational Leadership Team that will hold office until 2021. As Medical Missionaries of Mary, we place great emphasis on the richness that comes from inter-cultural living, believing that people from all nations are part of the one family of God. The composition of the new Leadership Team witnesses to this.
Elected for a second time as our Congregational Leader is Sister Siobhan Corkery (65), from Cork. A trained nurse and midwife, Sister Siobhan's first missionary assignment was to Nigeria, where she spent seventeen years staffing health services in rural missions, first in the Diocese of Abakaliki in the east of the country and later in the Diocese of Ondo in the west.
In June 1994 she went to Rwanda as a member of the first team of Medical Missionaries to enter the country in the wake of the genocide. In response to a request from Trocaire, the group provided emergency health care to the refugee population under difficult and dangerous conditions.
Subsequently in Capim Grosso, a small inland town in north-east Brazil, Siobhan initiated a programme to improve the sanitation and water supply in the drought-stricken countryside. She was involved in another programme that developed community pharmacies using remedies based on local herbs. During these years she became fluent in Portuguese.
She served previously on the Congregational Leadership Team, and was Co-ordinator of MMM communities in the Americas, which comprises the United States, Honduras and Brazil.
A creative and reflective person, she also holds a Diploma in Psychology and has trained in Clinical Pastoral Education.
Sister Ekaete Ekop (45) was elected Assistant Congregational Leader. Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Sister Ekaete qualified as a medical doctor before joining MMM. After profession she obtained a certificate in tropical medicine and community health in Liverpool.
Her first assignment was to a new MMM mission in Zaffé village, Glazoué, in the Republic of Benin, where she spent three years working in primary health care. Sister Ekaete then studied for her Fellowship in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the West African College of Surgeons and National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, during which time she worked for five years at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
She was then assigned to Abakaliki in eastern Nigeria, where she spent eighteen months in the busy maternity section of the hospital there. Sister Ekaete was asked to give up her beloved maternity and gynae work when she was appointed MMM Area Leader for West Africa at the end of 2012. Nevertheless, her skills and experience have been well used in her leadership role. One example was her advice to MMMs and staff in the face of the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
In a letter she reminded us that “as Medical Missionaries of Mary, it is a strong aspect of our charism to respond promptly to health issues in a professional and compassionate way....Let us keep a calm mind, read about the disease and disseminate correct and useful information. [We should] inform ourselves about Ebola and raise awareness of people about its prevention and recognition. This could be done in parishes, youth groups, social groups, market women etc. The aim is to increase awareness of correct information and empower people to take responsibility for prevention of the disease and reporting any suspected cases....With prompt and appropriate action, we can curb this epidemic and bring the figures back to zero. There is no need for panic –measured professional response is what we can offer.”
Sister Ekaete will have much to contribute in her new role.
Sister Mary Ann MacRae was elected Second Councillor. From Seattle, Washington, USA, she trained as a doctor in University College Dublin. Her first assignment was to Nigeria, where she worked for five years in Obudu and two years in Ibadan, both busy general hospitals.
After obtaining a Master's Degree in Public Health she served for ten years as medical superintendent in Abakaliki, Nigeria. This mission had a major commitment to the prevention and treatment of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) for six local government areas, as well as tuberculosis. It provided maternity and child welfare services with a large outreach programme.
In early 1998, Mary Ann began a new ministry in Tijuana, Mexico. For four years she was involved in Clinica Esperanza, which provided holistic health care for a poor migrant population close to the US border. Complementary therapies and support groups were available, as well as basic medical care.
In 2002, Sister Mary Ann was asked to relocate to Somerville, Massachusetts to co-ordinate a new MMM Mission Development Office (MDO) in the USA. In 2006 the MDO moved to Chicago. The office has developed a number of activities to tell the story of MMM and invite others to share in our future.
In 2012 Mary Ann was appointed to a three-year term as a Councillor for the MMM Area of the Americas. Her experience in leadership and in medicine will serve her well in her new leadership role.
Sister Radegunda Shayo (47), from Moshi, Tanzania, has been elected to a second term as Third Councillor. A nurse-midwife, she trained at the well-known Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.
Her first mission assignment was to Fuka, Nigeria where MMM runs a health centre in a remote area in the north of the country. Its outreach programme serves the nomadic pastoralists of the Fulani tribe. In 2000 she became a member of the first all-African team of Medical Missionaries of Mary to pioneer a new mission - in the village of Zaffé in the Republic of Benin.
There were no health services in the area when they arrived. Working with the local people, the team developed a health centre with an outreach to seven other villages. Sister Radegunda became fluent in French, her fourth spoken language including her mother-tongue (Ki-Chagga), Ki-Swahili, and English.
In 2008 she completed the year-long Loreto House programme in Ireland for those training for work in religious formation. She then began studies at All Hallows College, Dublin, for an M.A. in Leadership and Pastoral Care. Her research project for this study was entitled 'The Challenges of Leadership for Women Religious Today'. It proved to be an appropriate topic for Radegunda’s future work when she was first elected to the Congregational Leadership Team in 2009.