Saying Goodbye to Karen

Dee Dungy, Karen Bortvedt, Sr. Mary Little, Sami Scott, Charlie Dittmeier

Maryknoll Lay Missioners work on 3 1/2 year contracts and the end of her contract is approaching for Karen Bortvedt who was assigned to Cambodia and has been working (with great success!) at the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme.  This evening the Maryknoll community along with a few friends of Maryknoll had a little social to officially say goodbye to Karen.  She will be missed!

Maryknoll Visitors

Sam Stanton (L) is the executive director of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners.  He and his wife Cecilia are long-term members of Maryknoll Lay Missioners and are taking an extended spiritual renewal that took them to India, Sri Lanka, and now Cambodia.  They arrived in Phnom Penh today and this evening attended our weekend mass at World Vision.  Here they talk with parishioner Tommy Boukhris (blue shirt), Sami Scott, and Russ Brine after mass.

Bangkok Trip: Day 1

Every year Maryknoll priests and brothers in South Asia get together.  The March, 2017 meeting is in Bangkok, Thailand.  Click here for pictures of what was a travel day for those attending the meeting. [This photo is a motorcycle wagon full of furniture, pulled up the sidewalk in early morning Phnom Penh, hoping for some sales.]

Bishop Olivier’s Visit to Maryknoll

Dee Dungy, Bob Wynne, and Mara Rutten listen to Bishop Olivier yesterday at the Maryknoll office.

At least once a year, Bishop Olivier comes to the Maryknoll office for one of our Wednesday meetings, a liturgy, and then dinner together.  It’s just an informal time to talk and catch up with what we are all doing and for us especially to hear more about the workings of the diocese here.

Maryknollers Get Fingerprinted

First, sorry for not being able to post yesterday.  We had to get fingerprinted in the morning and the plan was afterwards to update this website before heading to Siem Reap for a deaf youth camp.  But it turned out the whole morning was spent with the fingerprints so that I had no time to do anything before heading north to the camp.


A recent directive from the Ministry of Social Affairs said that all the Maryknoll project directors need to get a criminal record check.  Probably that is the result of international NGOs pushing against the trafficking and abuse of children here.

I thought it would take maybe 15-30 minutes for the seven of us to be printed but it took 2 1/2 hours.  We had to fill out a form for the Cambodian police at the Ministry of the Interior and that took a while because they wanted all our heights in centimeters, etc., and then eventually we each were fingerprinted twice.

The original plan was that we would get fingerprinted and then we would send the copies of the print and our payment to the FBI in Washington, DC., they would do a criminal check, and then send us a record of their findings which we could submit to MOSVY.  But it turns out that the police here have some sort of working arrangement with the FBI and the US Embassy so the time spent on all the paperwork was to send that to Washington for us.  We had to pay $30 each for that, plus $2.50 for new photos, but if we understood correctly what they were telling us, we don’t have to do anything more.

Sr. Mara Rutten, who used to work for the FBI in Washington, has her height measured in centimeters.
Sr. Helene O’Sullivan has her fingers inked for the printing. For some reason, two other officers both took photos of each of us being fingerprinted.

Cambodian Microbe Hunters

Dr. Peter Gilligan, Charlie Dittmeier, and Dr. Jim McLaughlin

Jim McLaughlin is a former Maryknoll Lay Missioner who helped set up diagnostic microbiology labs in Cambodia and then co-founded the Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program there.  He serves as president of DPMD and returns to Cambodia several times a year to mentor, advise, and teach.  He just returned to Phnom Penh with his friend Dr. Peter Gilligan who is the Director of Clinical Microbiology at the University of North Carolina in the United States.  Peter will consult and review the DMPD operation and teach the Cambodian staff and technicians and students who are making this new field a reality in the kingdom.  Here they are visiting the Deaf Development Programme.

Farewell for Sr. Luise

After twenty-five years in Cambodia, Sr. Luise Ahrens is preparing to return to a new mission in the United States. Tonight was the last Maryknoll Wednesday meeting Luise will have with us and several of her long-standing friends from the old days joined the Maryknollers for this final gathering.

Sr. Mary Little presented some flowers to Luise, “probably the last orchids you’ll ever receive.”
Luise spoke to the group about how much we have meant to each other.
Finally it was time for guests to go home and they said their final goodbyes.