Sister Maria Rieckelman, M.M., who provided psychiatric services in Washington, D.C., for more than a quarter century, died Dec. 28 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining. She was 91.
From 1978 to 2004, Sister Maria provided spiritual psychiatry and psychiatric therapy to missioners and leaders serving in more than 30 countries. She also was coordinator of health services in the Office of Domestic Social Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1976-1977.
Sister Maria provided spiritual direction to people at Maryknoll, 2007-2014. While serving on Maryknoll’s leadership team, 1967-1971, she helped establish new governance structures for the sisters’ community life.
She also was a missioner to Hawaii, Hong Kong and Korea. In Hong Kong, she supervised the building of Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in Kowloon, which opened in 1961, and served as its administrator, 1963-1967.
Born in Cincinnati, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters novitiate in 1945 and professed final vows in 1951.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Mount St. Vincent, the Bronx, and a doctor of medicine degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee. She completed her residency in adult and child psychiatry at the University of Hawaii.
Sister Maria donated her body to science. A Memorial Mass will be offered Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. in Annunciation Chapel at Maryknoll Sisters Center.