I went to school at a time in my country when we were under a dictatorship. We were under the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos at the time and I was studying at the Assumption High School and the Assumption College in Manila and the Assumption sisters were being very true to the charism of our foundress which was that our education and our faith had social consequences, that we couldn’t be living in a situation of great poverty and of great injustice without somehow doing something with our education to make that better and, and our faith also demanded that we do something to change the situation of the poor and of the unjust political system we were under, so I got very involved in social justice activities and when I was in my senior year in college, I got arrested by the military and I was put under military arrest for four months and I had to stop my schooling, clearly, [laughs] since I was under arrest and, and then afterwards when I was released, I had one more semester to go in college and I graduated, but my family requested that I leave the country for a while because they never knew when I left the house in the morning if I’d come back alive in the evening you know, with the fear that I’d just be picked up by the military again.
Mary Ann Azanza
Provincial Superior of the Assumption Sisters in the United States
Sister Mary Ann Azanza was born on October 12, 1959 in New York City. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to the Philippines where both her parents grew up. She completed her schooling in the Philippines and upon graduation moved to the United States. Two years later, she became a Religious of the Assumption, a path she never thought she would travel down. She returned to the Philippines where she entered religious life. In 1996, she was asked to join the Worcester community to work with the immigrant and poor community. She began working with St. Peter’s Church almost immediately due to its location in the middle of a diverse neighborhood with many immigrant communities. Now she holds the position of Provincial Superior of the Assumption Sisters in the United States. She discusses the challenges she faced growing up in the Philippines, her interesting path to being a religious sister, her extensive work with St. Peter’s Church, and her hope for the future of Worcester.