Africa, Asia, North America

Sister Maris Simon

Sister Maris Simon (back to camera) directs the formation choir during a Province of Africa celebration.

Lion hunting in Africa

“Religious life was the furthest thing from my mind when someone asked me in secondary school, ‘Are you joining the convent?’ I replied that I would rather go lion hunting in Africa! My piano teacher had the reputation of attracting girls to the convent. When she asked me why I never talked at my music lessons I replied that I didn’t want to be dragged into the convent.”

Delegates to the second African Assembly in 1984 in Monrovia, Liberia: Sisters Roxanne Schares, Kenya; Denay Ulrich, Mankato provincial councilor; Dianne Perry, Kenya; and Maris Simon, Kenya.   Sister Maris Simon (front right) and friends visit with Sarah Obama, the step-grandmother of U.S. President Barak Obama.

Conversion experiences

“However, in my third year in high school I had two conversion experiences. One day while I was praying in the Motherhouse chapel, the thought came to me that if there really was a God and He had a son, that son had to be the most wonderful man in the world. It followed then that he would be the man with whom I would want to spend the rest of my life.  

“A few months later, we were shown the Maryknoll movie, Blue Cloud County. The movie graphically portrayed the missionary life of the priests in China. It was an awakening for me, and I reflected on how selfishly I had lived my life thus far. The poor of the world touched me in a new way.”

40 years ministering in Africa

“Today, after many happy years ministering in primary schools, secondary school and our formation college in the former Mankato Province and after almost 40 years ministering with our sisters in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, I have indeed been hunting lions in Africa, on Safari. Now, my ministry consists of living in our International Formation House in Kisumu, Kenya. I teach liturgy and music to our African postulants. 

“Just be careful when you make statements off the top of your head. They may come true. It is possible to have both a vocation and to go lion hunting in Africa!”

- Sister Maris Simon

Transforming the world through education