Dominican sister who serves Haiti's poor will deliver Commencement address

April 19, 2017

Sister Maria Marciano will also receive honorary degree

MILWAUKEE — Sister Maria Marciano, O.P., a Dominican sister from Brazil who serves Haiti's poorest citizens, will be the keynote speaker at Marquette University's 136th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21. As part of the ceremony, she will also receive an honorary degree.

"What difference can one individual bring to the life of nations?" asked President Michael R. Lovell. "Marquette University is so honored that Sister Maria will demonstrate the answer with a message of hope and progress for our graduating students and their families."

A civil and hydrology engineer educated in economics and business administration, Sr. Marciano went to the Dominican Republic in 1994, hoping to work with the needy in Haiti. The political turmoil in that country prevented it; instead, she worked with the destitute in Vallejuelo, a city and region in the Diocese of San Juan, Dominican Republic, that was particularly depressed.

Her successful work in Vallejuelo became models for her work in Haiti after the country's 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak. Today, Sr. Marciano continues her work in the Central Province of Haiti — one of the most destitute regions in the entire country.

Sr. Maricano's work has led to the building of badly needed roads, water systems, schools, community centers, and agricultural formation institutions for educating children and adults in basic literacy and methods of irrigation farming. These projects have provided employment for many permanent and part-time local construction workers, road builders, carpenters and day laborers.

For more information about Sr. Marciano, read this profile written by Dr. Patrick Carey, retired professor of theology at Marquette University, who visited Haiti last year on a mission trip.

Marquette's 136th Commencement will be held Sunday, May 21, at 9:30 a.m. at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. More information about the ceremony will be released at a later date.