Sister Maria Cho - with young child in Tanzania
Sister Maria (right) with Sister Maureen and a girl in Tanzania on a home visit

Thank you, Sister Maria Cho

Sister Maria was elected Superior General of the Sisters of Mary in 2011, succeeding Sister Michaela Kim as head of the congregation and charity programmes. She has been responsible for all the communities and operations at the schools and education programmes worldwide for the past 12 years.

Sister Maria has been a tireless leader of the congregation and dedicated to the Sisters’ mission to support the world’s most impoverished children. Travelling extensively every year, Sr Maria has overseen the growth of the Sisters of Mary school programmes as they responded to the need of the poorest children and expanded through Honduras and Tanzania, most recently with the development of a new boys’ school in this country. She provided strong, steady leadership during her time and faced the challenges of COVID-19 and the world food crisis with perseverance and grace.

Under her leadership, more than 167,000 of the poorest children have now graduated from these programmes with the skills they need to find work. Their lives and those of their families have been transformed because of the dedication and hard work of the Sisters, led by Sister Maria.

We have been blessed to have Sister Maria as the Chair of our Board and thank her for her leadership and courage. We wish her the very best as she steps back from her role and continues her life with the Sisters, committed to serving the world’s poorest.

Nun with two small children smiling

Welcoming Sister Elena, Superior General

Sister Elena Belarmino steps into the role of Superior General of the Sisters of Mary from 1 April 2023, responsible for the governance of the humanitarian educational programmes around the world.

Sister Elena Grengia Belarmino was born on 24 July 1955 in Badian on the West Coast of Cebu, the Philippines. She comes from a family of teachers and has a brother and a sister. A graduate of business economics from the University of San Carlos, Sister Elena speaks Tagalog, (national language Filipino), Cebuano, her native regional language, English, and Spanish. She joined the Sisters of Mary on August 1, 1985.

Initially working in the Q.I. hospital in Manila, where Father Al cared for the inhabitants of the TB slums, she later took responsibility for orphaned children from the slums in Manila, and helped Father Al as he formed the Sisters of Mary community to help the poorest children throughout this country.

Since then she has overseen the development of the Sisters of Mary school programmes in Mexico in 1990 and Guatemala in 1997 and supported the establishment of projects in Brazil and Honduras.

Most recently she has been based in Tanzania where the Sisters have established the new girls’ school in Kisarawe in 2019, the day-care and technical training centre in 2022 and most recently the project for the new boys’ school in Dodoma (construction started in February 2023).

We have had the privilege of Sr Elena’s work and support as a member of our board since 2016 and we are delighted to announce her new role as Superior General. We look forward to supporting her as she leads the programmes overseas providing care and education for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Leave a message of encouragement for Sister Maria or Sister Elena, the new Superior General