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Wilmington natives mark jubilees with Maryknolls




OSSINING, N.Y. — Two Wilmington natives are celebrating significant anniversaries with the Maryknoll Sisters in 2016.

Sister Mary Reese will mark 70 years with the congregation at a Mass on Feb. 14 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, N.Y. She is one of 21 Maryknolls celebrating 70 years.

Sister Mary, 93, grew up in St. Ann’s Parish, graduating from the parish school in 1936 and Ursuline Academy four years later.

A registered nurse and World War II veteran, Sister Mary entered the Maryknolls in October 1946. She spent 51 years ministering in Tanzania beginning in 1953. First, she worked at various health facilities before joining the government nursing service. After assignments in Kenya and New York, she returned to the country in 1974. She was a pastoral agent, serving as a Eucharistic minister and coordinator of religious instruction, and helping with projects for women and young girls.

Maryknoll Sisters Mary Reese and Gerri Brake
Maryknoll Sisters Mary Reese and Gerri Brake

Sister Mary helped organize the Youth Alive Club in Musoma, Tanzania, in 1995 to educate young people about HIV/AIDS. She returned to the United States in 2009 and remains an active member of her religious community.

Sister Geraldine Brake, who grew up in Christ Our King Parish, will mark her 50th anniversary at a Mass in Ossining in May. She graduated from Ursuline in 1965.

She spent nine years in Nicaragua in pastoral ministry and community development while the country weathered an insurrection. Her next assignment was in formation for the Maryknolls in New York.

In 1989, Sister Gerri joined the Maryknoll community in Panama. She was briefly a member of the Panama archdiocese vocations office, but turned to helping refugees.

Sister Gerri and five other Maryknoll sisters coordinated food and medical supplies, acted as translators, and cared for the elderly. In 2000, she helped establish Nueva Vida, a foundation and residential center for senior citizens in Balboa. She spent five years working with the elderly in her community in Ossining but returned to Panama in June 2014.