United with Mollie on the journey and in the grace of the Holy One, who calls forth
and nurtures our mission vocation ~
we remember, give thanks for
and continue Mollie’s Dream!
1876 September 28 – Mollie’s Parents, Abraham Theobald Rogers and Mary Josephine Plummer, were married in St. Francis de Sales Church in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
1882 October 27 - Mollie, the 4th child, was born in Roxbury, MA. She was the first daughter in a family of 8 children - 5 boys and 3 girls: Will, Leo, Ned, Mollie, Elizabeth, Louise, John and Abe.
1882 November 13 - Mollie was baptized Mary Josephine at St. Francis de Sales Church, Roxbury, MA.
894 October 7 - Mollie was confirmed, choosing the name Frances, at the Church of St. Thomas, Jamaica Plain, MA, by Archbishop John J. Williams of Boston.
1888-1897 - Mollie attended Bowditch Grade School in Jamaica Plain, MA, a 9-year course.
1897-1901 - Mollie attended West Roxbury High School, Roxbury, MA, a 3-year course, graduating in June 1900. Mollie was chosen the Class Speaker. Her talk, “Toleration,” began with a quotation in Latin from St. Austin: “In what is essential, UNITY; in what is indifferent, LIBERTY; in all things, CHARITY.” Mollie took the optional 4th year for college preparation, receiving a diploma on June 25, 1901.
1901-1905 - Mollie attended four years at Smith College in Northampton, MA, graduating on June 18, 1905 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Zoology. As a Junior, Mollie experienced the enthusiasm of the Protestant students at Smith who signed a pledge to go for a period of time to China as foreign missioners.
Mollie wrote: “Something—I do not know how to describe it—happened to me…I passed quickly through the campus…and across to the Church, where…I measured my faith and expression of it by the sight I had just witnessed….From that moment I had a work to do, little or great God alone knew.”
1905-1906 - Mollie spent a year at Boston Normal School in a special section for College Graduates and received a Teaching Certificate.
1906 Fall-1908 June - Mollie had a Fellowship at Smith College to assist in the Zoology Department as a Demonstrator.
1906 - Miss Elizabeth Deering Hanscom, a Faculty member at Smith College, inspired and influenced Mollie to start a Mission Study Club at Smith for Catholic young women. This Mission Club led Mollie to Fr. James Anthony Walsh (JAW), Director of the SPF in the Boston Archdiocese. Mollie corresponded with JAW in October, and in December met him at his Office. JAW showed Mollie the galley sheets for the first issue of The Field Afar Magazine, to be published in January 1907. Mollie devoted all her free time assisting JAW in editing, translating, writing for the FA, as well as organizing his mission photo collection.
1908 Fall-1912 June – Mollie taught at the Boston Public Elementary and High Schools.
1910 September 15 – Mollie made a Formal Resolve to devote herself to mission work.
1911June 29 – Maryknoll Society Foundation Day
1912 January 6 – The three secretaries, Mary Louise Wholean, Mary Augustine Dwyer and Sara Theresa Sullivan arrived at Hawthorne, NY, to assist Fr. Walsh, receiving $25 a month each for their services.
1912 July – Mollie arrived at Hawthorne to help temporarily with the work, creating an atmosphere that was unifying and personally freeing for the togetherness of Sara, Mary Louise, Mary Augustine and Nora Shea. Mary Louise wrote in the Diary: “These happy days, we find Mollie as generous, as resourceful, as organist and leading soprano, as cook, as shampooist, as gardener. She did every kind of work imaginable.”
1912 August 14 – Fr. Walsh brought Mollie and Monsignor John J. Dunn, Director of the SPF of the New York Archdiocese, to visit the “Hill Top Farm” on Pinesbridge Road near Ossining, a property up for sale by a certain Mr. Law.
1912 August 17 – Mother Alphonsa of the Dominican Sisters in Hawthorne gave $2,000 to Mollie as a gift which made it possible for Mollie to join the secretaries in September.
In the afternoon, Mollie with Fr. Walsh, as Chauffeur, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Broderick (Realtors), and Mr. Ewing (Lawyer), went to White Plains. Mollie, as Miss Rogers from Jamaica Plain, MA, purchased the property from Mr. Law – 93 acres for $44,500. The property was then deeded by Mollie to the Catholic Foreign Mission Society for one dollar.
When Mr. Law discovered that Miss Rogers bought the land for the Society, he wrote a very gentlemanly letter in which he said that he welcomes Maryknoll and our influence.
1912 September 9 – Mollie arrived at Hawthorne from St. Thomas Parish in Jamaica Plain, MA, with Margaret Ann Shea. Mollie said to Margaret: “Come, let us see what God has in store for us!”
1912 September 15 – Mollie, now called Mary Joseph, was chosen by the Secretaries as “Head of the Household” by unanimous vote. Mollie wrote this note to them: “I want you to know how wholly I belong to you in every hour of the day and night, to serve you, to love you, to watch over you and with you, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for of myself I can do nothing. I offer to this work the service of my entire being.” (September 15 is also the 2nd Anniversary of Mollie’s commitment to devote herself to mission work.)
1912 September 18 – The Fathers, Brothers and Seminarians moved from Hawthorne to Maryknoll. Before long, the Society’s cook disappeared, and Mollie, with the help of Hannah, the Secretaries’ cook, went to Maryknoll to do the cooking till October 17, when a new cook relieved her.
1912 October 15 - Mollie was already at Maryknoll overseeing the Society’s Kitchen. Mary Louise Wholean (Sr. M. Xavier), Margaret Ann Shea (Sr. M. Gemma) and Anna Agnes Towle (Sr. Anna Maria) moved from Hawthorne to Maryknoll. Then on October 16, Sara Theresa Sullivan (Sr. Teresa), Nora Frances Shea (Sr. Theophane), and Mary Augustine Dwyer (who left in 1916) joined the secretaries at St. Teresa’s Lodge.
After the secretaries were settled at Saint Teresa’s Lodge, Mill Hill Father McCabe, who had been helping at the Maryknoll Seminary, sent a postcard from England to them. He addressed it to “The Teresians.” The name took hold immediately and the secretaries, already dedicated to Saint Teresa of Avila, became “The Teresians of Maryknoll.”
1913 May 5 – A simple Reception of the Teresians, each wearing a gray uniform, took place. On May 29, the Cincture was added.
1916 January – The Teresians voted whether to become Carmelites, Franciscans or Dominican Tertiaries. They chose to be Dominican Tertiaries, and 17 Teresians were officially enrolled on March 7 in the Dominican 3rd Order.
1917 February 19 – Sr. M. Xavier Wholean, at the age of 35, was the first Maryknoller to die. She was one of the three who came to Hawthorne in 1912, and she wrote the first Teresian Diaries.
1917 March 25 – All Teresians wearing the Cincture received a silver Chi Rho Ring, symbolic of the work to which they had dedicated their lives. The Rings were designed by Maryknoll Sister Elenita Barry’s Mother, Rose, who loved Mollie and made the Rings for her as a Gift. The Rings were blessed by JAW. Permission was received from Rome to organize as a Society of Pious Women, but the Teresians could not yet take Vows. They began to call each other ‘Sister’ and were known as Dominican Tertiaries of Maryknoll.
1918 July 16 – Mollie and twelve others made their vows privately to Fr. Callan, OP.
1919 July 15 – Sr. Fidelia, OP, arrived from Sinsinawa, WI, to assist in the Novitiate till June 22, 1923.
1919 September 12 - Father Price died in China.
1920 February 14 – Canonical Foundation Day: Approval from Rome as a Diocesan Congregation. Monsignor John J. Dunn of the New York Archdiocese telephoned this good news. Mollie (Mary Joseph) was at Trinity College in Washington, DC, giving a Mission Talk, and arrived home late that day learning that Mary Frances Davis answered the phone and shared the news with the community before getting word to Fr. JAW. Mary Joseph was appointed by Archbishop Hayes as Superior till the 1st elective Chapter in 1925.
1920 April 8 – Maryknoll Sisters began in Los Angeles, CA, and on May 30 in Seattle, WA, ~ both serving the Japanese people.
1920 July 2 – Maryknoll Sisters were recognized by Fr. Louis Theissling, the Master General of the Order of Friars Preachers as a true member of the Dominican Family via Bishop McNicholas, OP.
1921 February 15-MMJ and 23 other Sisters made 1st Profession of Vows in the Chapel at St. Teresa’s at Maryknoll, NY. On April 13, our two Sisters in Seattle, WA, (Srs. Gemma and Gerard) also made their 1st Profession.
1921 September 12 - Six Maryknoll Sisters: M. Paul McKenna, Superior; M. Rose Leifels; M. Lawrence Foley; M Barbara Froelich; M. Imelda Sheridan; and M. Monica Moffatt left for Hong Kong and Yeungkong. They docked in Kowloon on November 3, and arrived in Yeungkong, South China, November 20.
1923 – The Maryknoll Sisters were housed in five dwellings at Maryknoll, NY: St. Teresa’s Lodge, St. Joseph’s (a converted barn), Dormitories in the Field Afar Building (now Walsh Bldg), Rosary House (pro-Seminary) and St. Michael’s (Carriage House). The Chapel was now a separate building called St. Martha’s.
1923 September 11 to March 1924 - MMJ made her first Visitation to the Orient.
1924 February 11 - MMJ’s Final Profession in Korea with Sr. Paul. Fr. Patrick Byrne presided.
1925 May 6 – 1st General Chapter at which MMJ was elected unanimously as Mother General; she also acted as Local Superior until 1931.
1927 June – The Maryknoll Society purchased the Tompkins’ Estate across the way from their present property, which extended from the highest point in Westchester to Brookside Lane. On August 15, JAW blessed the family dwelling on the highest point naming it Regina Coeli. This became part of the Sisters’ Novitiate.
1928 November 7 - Maryknoll Sisters purchased from the Society 53 acres of the former Tompkins’ Estate, including Regina Coeli hilltop, and the land on which the Center was built. The Society retained the southern portion of 8.86 acres. In July 1945, on our inquiry of the Society to purchase this remaining portion, they made a gift of it to us.
1929 September 15 – Auxiliary Bishop John Dunn of New York Archdiocese presided at the groundbreaking for the Sisters’ Center.
1931 July 9 - 2nd General Chapter at which MMJ was re-elected unanimously.
1932 March 3 – We moved into the newly built Center. MMJ saw the move from the Seminary grounds to the Center as marking “a very final step towards a new phase of our life.”
1932 October 3 - Among the decisions of 1931 Chapter was the approval for the Cloister (now called Contemplative Community) to begin as an integral part of the Congregation.
1933 June 29-JAW was ordained a Bishop in Rome. JAW died at Maryknoll on April 14, 1936.
1937 July – 3rd General Chapter at which Bishop James E. Walsh, the new Superior General, spoke of the Maryknoll Sisters as “actual missioners” rather than “helpers of missionaries.” MMJ was unanimously re-elected to a 3rd term of office in the form of a postulation, and Rome granted it readily.
1946 July – At the 4th General Chapter MMJ was elected unanimously as Mother General in the form of a postulation. In a reflective letter, dated December first, MMJ communicated that on November 30, Cardinal Spellman of New York told her “to refuse her election” which involved a fourth term, and “call an elective chapter.” MMJ said: “We can accept this as an act of obedience, or embrace it as an act of Love, facing this change with joy in doing God’s will.”
1947 January 2 – Delegates returned to the Center and elected Mother Mary Columba to succeed MMJ.
1954 December 12 – Maryknoll Sisters became a Pontifical Congregation, and our name was changed from Foreign Mission Sisters of St. Dominic to Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic.
1955 October 9 – MMJ died peacefully at the age of 73 at St. Vincent’s Hospital, NYC, shortly after 5:00 pm, surrounded by her Community.
^ ^ ^
As long as there is a Maryknoll Sister
left in the world with a heart to love
and a will to serve,
Mollie’s spirit and dream
continue to live on in the world!
Adapted from Sr. Jeanne Marie’s Maryknoll’s First Lady