Julie and I convey our most heartfelt condolences to the Columban Sisters and Family of Sister Mary Radcliffe. As missionary, she served the Filipino people well, including political prisoners like us during the Marcos dictatorship. She worked with Task Force Detainees, Contak (for international solidarity) and the urban and rural missionaries. Long live her memory and good works! May these inspire future generations to emulate her example!
More on Sister Mary: From the Columban sisters website: “Mary Radcliffe said her first impressions of the Philippines were the heat and the lovely smiles of the people in spite of the poverty that she witnessed.
She was assigned to teach in a Montessori School in Manila for one year. Then she transferred to the Columban College in Lingayen where she joyfully taught grade 5 and 6 with over 60 students in each class. Marshall Law was declared by President Marcos on Sept. 21, 1972. A huge turning point in Mary’s life was going into class the next day and discovering that half of the grade 6 boys had been lifted by the military. Their elder brothers and sisters were already rounded up. Eventually the younger ones were freed.
On returning from her holiday in England, Mary chose to be involved with the Human Rights Office – started by the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines. This Office set up task forces for the disappeared, for the children whose parents were in prison, for medical action groups and for the relatives.
Mary continued with the work of Justice and Peace and Care for the Environment in the Philippines until 2002.
To this day, Mary is an advocate of Liberation Theology. As she herself says” once embarked on this journey, there is no going back.”