> Storytelling Keeps Legacies Alive

Storytelling Keeps Legacies Alive


A master’s degree in library science from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu prepared Sister Theresa Chow for a number of ministries — from serving in the library of various Catholic schools to the medical records department of St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu.

In her present day ministry as a National Park Service volunteer in Kalaupapa, Hawaii, she was involved in the re-establishment of the Saint Marianne Cope Library, located near St. Francis Church in Kalaupapa, in 2010. While schedules and staff duties make spiders the most frequent visitors, Sister Theresa maintains the library for study groups and/or anyone seeking a good book, video or CD.

A Sister of St. Francis for 65 years, Sister Theresa has found a talent for storytelling in her later years (she’s 86!). She has an amazing ability to hold the attention of an audience of tourists or pilgrims coming to Kalaupapa to experience the legend and legacy of Sts. Marianne Cope and Damien de Veuster. Sorting the facts from fiction Sister Theresa’s stories come to life in the minds of visitors to the island.

A love for nature and the abundance of vegetation now to be found on this once desolate peninsula is another aspect of Sister Theresa’s giftedness. Like the other 99 residents of Kalaupapa, she knows each plant by name. She showers tender loving care on her banana patch and avocado trees as well as her raised garden in the Kalaupapa National Historic Park nursery.

Walking in the footsteps of St. Marianne Cope, Sister Theresa enjoys every moment of every day. She is grateful to God for leading her to this new-found ministry of storytelling.