We are pleased to present the Maryknoll Lay Missioners Class of 2018!
Our 12 new lay missioners will complete their Orientation program and be formally sent to their assigned countries on Saturday, Dec. 8. (Watch the ceremony here.) Those who have families in the U.S. will spend Christmas with them, and then travel in early January.
Verónica Arriagada and José Luís Aguilar – Bolivia
Verónica and José Luis have lived in Chicago, Illinois, for the last 18 years. They have four grown children. Veronica is originally from Chile and José Luis from Mexico. Verónica has served as a full-time childcare worker and volunteered in her children’s school activities. She enjoys singing, playing the guitar, knitting, reading, photography and cooking. She used her musical skills in the church choir.
José Luis studied and practiced law in Mexico. He has also studied for a master’s degree in Mexican labor law, in Oaxaca, Mexico, and in theology from Chicago Theological Union. He has retired from his job at a hospital. He was a Maryknoll lay missioner in the Class of 1985 and was assigned to Chile, where he met Verónica. They married and moved to Mexico. He enjoys reading, playing musical instruments, and sports.
Abby Belt – Haiti
Abby is from Wichita, Kansas. She received a bachelor of arts in English language arts education from Friends University. She has worked as a sales associate at Walgreens, tutored at the university, and worked at a pharmaceutical company. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, as a camp counselor, and worked with youth and young adult ministry in her parish. She was on the track and field team in college, earning an All-American in hammer in her final season. She enjoys reading, writing, and athletics. She has visited the U.S. Virgin Islands and Scotland and took advantage of the opportunity to get to know the people and the culture.
Cortney Freshwater – Bolivia
Cortney is from Ashland, Ohio. She graduated from John Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She continued on to do a year of service in Jamaica through Passionist Volunteers International, where she worked in a small community, school, and an infirmary. She then taught second grade at a Catholic school and began visiting a nursing home through her parish outreach. Cortney has experience working with children, the elderly, the homeless, and those with disabilities – all of whom bring her insights and joy! She enjoys cooking, watching Cleveland sports, and exploring the outdoors as much as possible!
Sam Janson – Tanzania
Sam is from Amherst, New Hampshire. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. Sam has worked as a legal assistant and a street outreach worker for Child and Family Services. He has volunteered with the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in a program for men with addictions and as an emergency medical technician while in college. He enjoys outside activities such as hiking and skiing, reading, writing and cooking.
Kevin and Marilyn McDonough – Tanzania
Kevin and Marilyn have been living in Santa Clara, California. They have four grown children and seven grandchildren. Kevin received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Davis, and an MBA from Oregon State University. He had a career in the semiconductor business in management and operations and now is a contractor and a broker/realtor. He volunteers with Second Harvest Food Bank and was a eucharistic minister. Kevin enjoys working on construction projects, swimming and walking.
Marilyn received bachelor’s degrees in zoology from Oregon State University and in nursing from San Jose State University. She has worked in labor and delivery, maternal-child, medical-surgical and school nursing. Marilyn has served as a eucharistic minister, a catechist, and a pastoral visitor to the sick and homebound. She enjoys reading, walking, and is learning to crochet.
Kevin and Marilyn met while they were both teachers in the Peace Corps in Gambia, West Africa.
They recently traveled to Ireland to visit Kevin’s family and to Israel and Jordan.
Joe Miller – Bolivia
Joe was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and is most recently from Evanston, Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree in theology and Catholic studies with a minor in Justice and Peace Studies from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s in pastoral ministry from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Joe has served as campus minister at the high school and college levels and also as a high school religion teacher. He has traveled to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Italy, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and recently to the U.S.-Mexico Border. He enjoys biking, hiking, skiing, reading and ceramics.
Jaynie Prior – El Salvador
Jaynie is from Overland Park, Kansas. She has two grown children. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Avila University, a master’s in counseling psychology from University of Kansas, and a master’s in family therapy from Friends University. Jaynie has been in private practice, community mental health and school counseling. She has volunteered at a Catholic Worker House and as a lector and eucharistic minister at her parish. Jaynie has been on Friends Across Border trips with MKLM to Cambodia and El Salvador and has also traveled to Peru, Belize and Japan. She enjoys Ignatian spirituality, yoga, travel, biking, hiking and home repair.
Rich Tarro – Kenya
Rich is from Narragansett, Rhode Island. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and an master’s in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a catechetical certificate from St. John’s Seminary. Rich worked in various roles with IBM until his retirement. He cooks at a meal center, helps at a homeless shelter, and is a catechist for his parish. He enjoys music, reading, sports and computers.
Loyce and Stephen Veryser, with Claire, Justin, and Abigail – Tanzania
Loyce is from Bukoba, Tanzania. She received her bachelor’s of education degree in mathematics from Tumaini University and is a math teacher in a government high school in Mwanza, Tanzania. Loyce enjoys spending time with her many friends and extended family. She has facilitated a savings and lending group with fellow teachers and also organized extracurricular activities, including a student math club.
Steve is originally from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master’s in management from the School for International Training. He and Loyce met when Steve was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania. They have three children. For most of his adult life, Steve has worked for NGOs throughout Africa. Steve started as regional director for MKLM in Tanzania July 1, 2018. Steve enjoys physical activities, reading and spending time with friends and family. In New York he hopes to practice with a Capoeira (a Brazilian mixed martial arts) group.
Abigail (the older twin, or kulwa in Kiswahili) loves to read and finished third grade in Tanzania with an award for her achievements in English.
Justin (the younger twin, or dotto in Kiswahili) loves building things and figuring things out. He finished third grade with an award for his efforts in science.
Claire (their younger sister) finished first grade and was voted by her peers to receive the friendship award for their class.
During Orientation they enjoyed going to school in the U.S. for the first time, carving pumpkins and building their first snow person.
Sr. Armeline Sidoine, MM (Maryknoll Sister) – China
Maryknoll Sister Armeline Sidoine participated in the 2018 Orientation. She is from the Republic of the Congo Brazzaville (not the Democratic Republic of Congo) and earned a baccalaureate in science.
She worked as a teacher with the St. Nicodemus NGO in Cameroon before moving to Brazil, where she met the Maryknoll Sisters. Armeline has experience working with youth, parishes and radio programs.
Her process with Maryknoll started in 2013. She made her first vows on Jan. 7, 2018, at Maryknoll’s Center House where she assists in the activities department of the nursing home.
Music, reading, and cooking are her passions.