LEFT: Sister Mary Christine Taylor, shown here with children on the Mohawk reservation, was honored for her focus on education as a way to transform lives.
RIGHT: Sister Mary Christine visiting one of the college classes she helped start on the reservation.
"The First College Courses Offered on a Reservation"
Sister Mary Christine Taylor was honored for her work among the Mohawks in upstate New York. She worked diligently to restore their faith in the Church and in society overall by focusing on education. In 1972, when Sister Mary Christine was academic dean at Mater Dei Catholic College, a small liberal arts institution, she brought college extension classes to the Mohawk reservation. This was the first time college courses had been offered at an Indian reservation in the United States.
For ten years, she commuted 60 miles each day between the college and the reservation, teaching and counseling both her students at the college and the Native Americans on the reservation. Over time, Native American graduates of her program served the reservation as teachers, librarians, alcohol rehabilitation counselors, nutritionists and nurses. A few even went on to medical school. Said Most Reverend Stanislaus Brzana, Bishop of Ogdensburg at the time, “Many Mohawks have obtained skills, higher education, employment and a sense of achievement because of her.”