Sr. Emma M. Balaguer, fmm
(M of Bl. Philippine Duchesne
Born: Dec. 25, 1932
Entered: Sept. 16, 1954
First Vows: Sept. 17, 1957
Final Vows: Sept.17,1960
Born to Eternal Life: 11.16.2013
The second youngest of 5 children, Emma was born in Queens, New York City on Christmas Day 1932.
Early in 1937 massive streptococcal infection hit the city and all the children were sick with tonsillitis or ear infections. Emma’s ear infection moved into meningitis, which was almost fatal. With her parents’ permission, Emma received experimental Sulfanilamide and was the first complete recovery.
At the age of 3, Emma was fascinated by the Sisters and announced she “was going to be a nun.” Over the years of school she met 6 different Congregations but was always wondering which one it was going to be.
One year her High School sang Christmas carols for the children at 45th Street. She knew nothing about the FMMs, but attracted by the children, she spoke to Mother Malachy about entering. Mother Malachy said “So you want to be a missionary,"and without even thinking she heard herself say "Yes." She wanted to enter after High School but was offered a scholarship to Manhattanville and advised to accept it. After graduation in 1954 she entered in September.
After First Vows Emma was sent in mission to Roslyn to work in the Lab. Two days later the change came to go to Emmanuel College for one year to prepare for Medical School at St. Louis University.
Emma pronounced her Final vows in 1960 during her 3rd year Medical School, with only an 8 day Retreat, and then back to medical experience in the hospitals.
Graduation in 1962 was followed by Internship at St. John Mercy Hospital and Residency at St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn.
In 1965 Emma was sent to the mission of India. Because of visa problems, she went to Assunta Hospital in Malaysia for 4 months. In 1966, she was missioned to Child Jesus Hospital, Tirichirrapali, to be in charge of the Female Medical ward, as well as an Anesthetist.
Then in 1968 she was sent to Manapad, where she was the only doctor for the hospital and the whole district.
Emma’s next sending, in 1971, was to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Baramulla, as
Medical Superintendent as well as in charge of Pediatrics and Surgery.
In June ’72- Aug.’73, she went on home visit, worked at Roslyn, and then back to Kashmir.
She was missioned back to the USA in 1979. Along the way to the USA, she stopped off in Israel, Rome, Spain, France and England. Israel was a 5-week prayerful visit to the Holy Places; Rome was a 6-week course on Mother Foundress. Spain was a Christmas and New Year’s visit to meet first cousins for the first time. France included Lourdes and Nantes, as well as Paris.
After a Medical renewal in Philadelphia Emma’s ministry was Medical practice in North Carolina for 15 months and in St. Louis for the next 20 years in the School Health Service of the Health Dept.
A mandatory retirement compelled her to leave the medical practice. Anxious to remain active, she volunteered to play with the children in the hospital.
She volunteered services in the Mission Resource Center as long as she was able. A brilliant, articulate woman, avid reader and a person used to working, it was difficult for Emma to have no active ministry. Her last years were spent in suffering and prayer for the Church and the world.