In 1950 our Foundress, Mother Mary Martin, visited the United States at the invitation of Archbishop (later Cardinal) Richard Cushing. That year, our first community was established on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA. Before long a larger house was needed and a novitiate was opened on Arlington Street in Winchester, MA. In 1985, the community moved to Somerville, MA.
Over our years in the USA, MMM has made foundations in City Island, New York; Chicago; Brighton, Malden and Scituate, MA; San Ysidro, CA; and in Clinchco, VA.
In addition to vocation promotion and formation, an important ministry for our communities in the United States has been providing support for our work overseas. Mission awareness in parishes assigned to us raises interest and funds for our work in health care and development. It involves many miles of travel each year for Sisters who tell the churchgoers about our mission and charism. We are deeply grateful to all who share our work in this way. Those who staff our Mission Development Office in Chicago work hard at fundraising all year round.
In June 1978, three MMMs moved to Clinchco, Virginia, in the economically depressed coal-mining region of Appalachia. In 1984 the Sisters got a health wagon, making their service much more visible and enabling them to do more. They plied the dangerous mountain roads, bringing basic care to remote locations. One of the first Sisters was Bernadette Kenny, a nurse practitioner.. In 1998 Bernie was invited to Tennessee to see the work of Remote Area Medical (RAM) Volunteer Corps. Realizing its potential, Bernie helped to organize the first RAM in Wise County, VA in 2000. At a yearly three-day event thousands of families in need received a range of free medical services. Many lined up for days ahead. With the success of the Health Wagon and other organizations, in July 2019 RAM decided to move on to other remote locations to answer their requests for services.
The Health Wagon plans to continue the annual health outreach as the Move Mountains Medical Mission to patients in Wise and surrounding regions, in addition to regular clinic work. Some years ago Sister Bernie handed over the management of the Health Wagon to her nurse practitioner colleagues. A state-of-the-art stationary clinic opened in 2020 in Dickenson County, VA. It was named the Sister Bernie Kenny, MMM, Clinic, recognizing the humanitarian legacy that she has instilled in these mountains.
After many years on mission overseas, most of our MMMs in the USA are now linked to our Boston community. They continue to live our core values in a wide variety of ways, in the local community and beyond.
In our Somerville house, Sisters keep in contact with former colleagues, visit neighbours and have a phone ministry with our many friends. Others are active with social justice issues, especially human trafficking, write to prisoners, and volunteer at a nursing facility. They also help in the many activities in running a busy house and in caring for the Sisters’ health and other needs. Somerville is also a house of hospitality to our Sisters, friends and benefactors visiting the USA.
Several MMMs live at the VNA@Highland across the road. They volunteer in ministries such as Eucharistic ministers, offer podiatry services, and visit and advocate for other residents, especially the most vulnerable.
Some Sisters live in other nursing facilities, in assisted living and in senior housing. They help the elderly, spend time with families with autistic children, and have a ministry of presence and prayer.
Our Associates in the USA also witness to our MMM charism. Some work overseas among our Sisters and other Associates. They help with mission awareness. One assists the homeless in her community and volunteers in Clinchco. Another reaches her students through her gift of music. AMMMs help with eye surgery in Mexico and work with the detained and imprisoned. An AMMM held a conference addressing human trafficking through her Rotary organization. Others visit nursing homes to bring the Eucharist or offer hairdressing services. Another crochets and sews baby blankets for her local Birthright organization. They help our Sisters in the Boston Community and share prayer with them. While time and distance are challenges some AMMMs are able to share in MMM meetings in the USA.
MMMs in the USA are involved in:
- Mission awareness and vocation work
- Fund raising
- Parish work
- Complementary therapies
- Basic health care
- Health fair in Virginia
- Community services in Somerville MA
- Fund raising effort continues all year
- A Short History of MMM in the US
- Amazing story of Sister Agnes McKeon, First Postulant of MMM in USA
- Our First Friends in Boston
- First Days in Winchester