Friday, June 24, 2011

Mollie Wanted Everyone to Be Happy

 Mollie Wanted Everyone To Be Happy

A hundred years ago, on a winter afternoon, seven year–old Mollie Rogers curled up on the sofa in the big living room of her home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Her whole name was Mary Josephine Rogers.

Mollie  turned the pages of a magazine and looked at each photo. One photo showed the story of a girl her own age. As Mollie read the story, big tears rolled down her face.

Her big brother, Abe, looked up from his homework. “Mollie, what’s the matter?

Her voice trembling, Mollie said, “It’s this little girl in Africa. She was killed because she believed in Jesus,”

“Oh,” Abe said, “She’s one of those martyrs. Don’t cry. Martyrs go straight to heaven.”

Abe went on with his homework, but Mollie never forgot that story. She wanted everybody to be happy.

Mollie lived in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
Every Sunday, she  went to church with her big family of eight brothers and sisters. She learned more and more about Jesus.

Once a year, a missionary spoke in her church about terrible things that happened to children in far away countries. In some places, little babies were abandoned, especially if they were girls. They were thrown away, left on the roadside, dumped out like garbage. Missionaries found the babies and cared for them. They fed them and clothed them, but often it was too late. Many babies died in their arms. Molly wanted to do something about those babies. Molly wanted to make others happy.

She helped her brothers and sisters. She played the piano for them. She could sing, and dance, too. She liked to write letters and stories. She was a happy person and wanted others to be happy, too.

When Mollie finished high school, her parents sent her to Smith College. Mollie came from a Roman Catholic family, but most of her classmates and her teachers were Protestants. In college, Mollie got along with everyone. She liked her classmates and her teachers. She made many friends. She studied hard and the years passed quickly.

She was almost ready to graduate when something happened. She had always joined in with her classmates for every activity, dances, competitions, parties. Then, suddenly, she felt left out.

It happened on the day that many of her classmates received their “mission” assignments. The young women were smiling and congratulating each other. They were so happy. They had offered to go to China to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mollie listened as they laughed and talked. Mollie congratulated them! She was happy for them, but soon she slipped away to the Catholic Church just across the street from the college.

As she knelt in the quiet church, she thought about how good these young women were and how they were going to tell people in China about Jesus. As she prayed, she asked herself what she was doing to spread her faith.

After graduation, Mollie got a job at the college. She taught Zoology. One of her mentors said, “Miss Rogers. All the Protestant girls have Mission Study Clubs. Why don’t you form a Mission Study Club for Catholic Girls?”

Mollie liked the idea, but the only thing she knew about Catholic Missions was what she heard in a once-a-year sermon, when a missionary visited her parish church. Mollie remembered that the missionary talked about an office somewhere in Boston.

As soon as she had a day off from teaching, Mollie inquired and learned that a Rev. James A. Walsh was in charge of that office. She lost no time. Within a few days, she went into Boston to find this priest. He would know something about mission, since he sent the missionaries to her parish.

 Mollie climbed the stairs to an  office on the top floor of a rickety old building. She learned that Father Walsh called his office the Rookery. A rookery is a place where birds roost high in a building. When Mollie learned this, she knew Father Walsh had a sense of humor.

Mollie greeted Father Walsh and explained her need for material for a Mission Club she intended to start for Catholic students at Smith College.

Father Walsh welcomed her. He gave her some information and suggestions. Mollie found her life’s work that day.

Within a few years, Mollie became

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers.

She  founded the Maryknoll Sisters, a group of women who this very day are spread about the world. They are women from 17 countries. They serve the poor and needy in 28 nations. They want to make God’s Love visible to the whole world.

Do you sometimes think about how you could make God’s Love visible?

Learn more about Maryknoll Sisters!