Clarissa Mackie
1901-2006

Sister Mary Beata Mackie, MM
Born: March 11, 1901 in Worcester, MA   Died: February 5, 2006 in Maryknoll, NY
Age at death: 104


Photo from 1931-32 presumably taken in Pittsfield in her father's backyard with her niece, Judith Rowen (1930-1962)

 

Nun Rescued 60 years ago | From Nephew Logan Enright | 100th Birthday
99th Birthday | Sister's Photo Album | Kinship | Links
 

From Niece Christine Enright Snyder

 Worcester Nun Rescued
60 years ago from
Japanese Internment Camp

February 23, 1945

by
Christine A. Snyder
137 Frye Street
Marlborough, MA 01752
508-303-3717
the.snyders@comcast.net

 

In 1907 on the steps of Worcester City Hall sat little six year old Clarisse Mackie, playing hooky from the Winslow Street school at the instigation of her older brother.  The two scamps were easily seen across the way by their father from his Florist Shop on Pleasant Street.   Later in 1945 Clarisse, Sister Beata, was seen by her heavenly Father sitting in a makeshift chapel of a Japanese prison camp. 

  

With the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, there will be many individual milestones coming up – VE day (Victory in Europe) in the spring, and then VJ day in the summer.

 A 104 year old Worcester native and Maryknoll missionary, Sister Beata Mackie will remember her own 60th anniversary liberation from the Japanese.   On February 23rd in 1945 she saw a multitude of parachutes open over her internment camp in the Philippines.  Liberation had come, thank God almighty, liberation!

 Young Clarisse Mackie, a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral parish, dreamed of spreading the word of God to those in foreign lands.  In 1923 her dream came true as she entered the newly formed order of Maryknoll missionary sisters.  After a brief stay in Hawaii the newly professed Sr. Beata was finally on her way to the Asian missions, to the Philippines. 

From Nephew Logan Enright

Friends and family:

We lost Sister Mary Beata Mackie, our Aunt Clarisse, today - about a month short of her 105th birthday! She was the oldest living Maryknoll sister, residing in Maryknoll, NY (Ossining). Her first mission was Wailuku, (Maui), Hawaii in the late 20s. My mother’s oldest sibling, she spent four decades in the Philippines as a teacher and principal.

 

Captured by the Japanese along with other clergy and laypeople, she was interned in a concentration camp for seven months. Below find two stories of General McArthur’s troops air/land/sea rescue at Los Banos in 1945.  An A&E program on this daring rescue produced a couple years ago entitled: “Los Banos, Rescue at Dawn”. The Los Banos rescue was not well known for many years as it was up-staged on the same day by one of the  major WWII battles (Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal).  Also, see the article on her meeting one of her rescuers.   

 

Sister Beata was a truly remarkable woman and a big influence on my life. We had the privilege of having her close by when she resided for the ten years here in Monrovia, California in the 80s.  She attended Patti and my wedding (25 years ago Tuesday) here in the LA area and we visited her often in Monrovia. She will be remembered as a loving, thoughtful, intelligent and dedicated woman of the church. She used to write notes to some thirty relatives regularly even in recent years – including young ones who did not know her! We have so many great memories of this dear lady.

Please click below to learn more about her time at
Los Banos:

http://sisters.maryknoll.org/index.php?module=MKArticles&func=display&id=34&office=article

http://history1900s.about.com/library/prm/blliberating3.htm

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/vetscor/849795/posts

God bless her and may her soul rest in peace.

Logan

_______________________________________

Logan Enright
The Enright Company
Manufacturers representatives
17852 E. 17th Street, Suite 112
Tustin, CA 92780
(888)334-7773
fax: (714)838-1353
Mobile: (714)267-6638

www.enrightcompany.com 

 

              All was to change drastically in December of 1941.   Sister Beata was imprisoned by the Japanese with other religious under house arrest, suffering countless deprivations.  Then in the summer of 1944 hundreds of clergy and religious of all denominations were transferred to the dreaded Japanese internment camp called Los Banos, south of Manila.   Separated from the lay internees, their part of the camp was good-humoredly dubbed “Vatican City” while the lower half was “Hell’s Half-Acre.”  In the barracks used as a makeshift chapel there were over 130 masses offered daily.[1]   (Flanagan, page 18)

 While most prison camps are liberated as the army fights its way inch by inch through the enemy ranks, this camp was well behind the Japanese enemy line.    The internees’ lives were in imminent danger of being annihilated.  The raid had to proceed, and rapidly. 

 It was an amazing rescue operation with over 2,100 civilians lead to safety unharmed, yet very few have ever even heard of it.  And there is a reason, actually a photograph, that took the world’s attention, pushing the Los Banos rescue to the back page.

             The reason the world has yet to herald this most daring and most successful of all civilian rescues ever made is that it occurred on the exact same day as the Battle of Iwo Jima.  The headlines were filled with that famous photo of the five marines raising the flag.  

 The Japanese were systematically starving the prisoners in Los Banos, while fruit was growing just beyond the compound's fences.

             The U.S. officials were extremely concerned that with the advance of the Americans pushing the Japanese back, survivors might not be left alive in the camps.  The prisoners might be slaughtered outright before they could be liberated.

 The prisoners prayed for liberation, but they also knew that their end might be at hand through the merciless second-in-command, Konishi.   The day before the liberation, the bishop had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and public recitation of the rosary. 

             The American forces were given secret information about the daily routine of the Japanese guards by three selfless and brave inmates of Los Banos. These men were able to escape through a hole in the fence, rendezvous with the Americans and the Filipino guerillas at night, then sneak back into the camp undetected.  

The next morning a three-way rescue was brilliantly executed: ground forces surrounding the camp at 7 a.m.;   amphibious vehicles (amtracs) ready to help ferry survivors across the lake;  and nine planes dropping paratroopers exactly at that 7 a.m. hour.  

It all went off miraculously as scheduled.  When so many variables could have gone wrong, nothing did.  

John Fulton of Kinnelon, New Jersey, a staff sergeant heading up the American ground forces and Filipino guerrillas, said in a telephone interview, “Our signal to attack was when that first parachute appeared out of the lead plane.  So that’s all I was looking for was that first parachute. 

“I was on the ground with the Filipino Guerillas.  Two or three internees from the camp had escaped several days earlier.  Those three all wanted to return and attack the camp also.  And then members of the Reconnaissance Squad were also very vital at that point.  They were also on the ground.   Each of us [the internees, the Recon Squad and myself] were assigned anywhere from five to eight Guerillas each.  They stationed us at different areas all around the camp; we really surrounded the camp.

 “We’d crept up all around the perimeter of the camp,” Fulton continued.  “We stationed ourselves there for three hours waiting for the planes to appear. As soon as that chute opened up, we attacked the camp. I wasn’t looking up at the sky.  I was running on the ground, heading for the gate of the prison.  From there on, our attention was directed forward.  The point is we weren’t sure that the Japanese wouldn’t be right around the corner attacking us.”           

John Fulton continued, “The people were so confused as to what to do.  And a few of them were just adamant.  It was amazing, they just simply did not want to leave their stuff there.  That is all they had to connect them to the world they knew before was in a suitcase.  And to say, ‘Leave it!  Leave it!’- they just couldn’t do that.  They knew that they were behind enemy lines, but they didn’t understand the timing that was involved, no, they didn’t understand that.”   

John Fulton remembered, “So finally we had to set fire to the camp, we torched it.  That encouraged them.   Then they decided, ‘Yes, I guess we have to get out of here.’  But those were a distinct minority.  The great majority were oh blissfully happy to go.” 

Many prisoners were so weak they had to be driven on the amtracs the two miles to reach the lake. 

Sister Beata has not wanted to pass along any negative remarks about her experience.  She did, however, sooth one relative’s worry about possible torture: no, that had not happened to her she related.   “She never has anything bad to say about the Japanese,” her kid sister would say on more than one occasion.  “She’s a saint, I’m sure, a saint.” 

When asked if she rode the amtrac the two miles to the beach, Sister Beata answered, “No, I walked.” Why am I not surprised?  

“It was the most heartwarming experience I think I ever had.  Seeing all of those internees unload out of those amtracs, hugging together talking and laughing,” recalled Fulton.

 Sister Beata’s mother, Mary Ellen Quinn Mackie, had spent the entire war worrying over her eldest daughter's safety.   However on Christmas Day 1944 just two months before the rescue, Sister Beata’s mother passed away.  Recalling this event even this long removed brought a look of sadness to Sister Beata’s eye.  What a bitter-sweet occasion, to be free, yet to find out that she’d never see her mother again.  Looking with the eyes of faith though, the miraculous rescue could have been due to her mother’s intercession from heaven.  

 Maryknoll's founder, Mother Mary Joseph, worried for the safety of her more than fifty sisters imprisoned for the duration of the war. Amazingly all the sisters did return, with a dozen or so needing more time to recuperate at the Motherhouse in Ossining, New York.  That is, they were so emaciated they needed to get back to looking like themselves again lest they shock their parents. While most sisters left to see their families - Sister Beata, who had refused a ride to the beach but walked behind the amtracs, was one of those told to wait at the motherhouse.    

With the trip home to her father delayed a bit longer, it did not dampen the enthusiastic welcome she received.  She visited her married sisters and brothers, overjoyed to be home again.  “The U.S.A. looks grand,” she wrote upon her arrival in California. 

After her trip home, Sister Beata eagerly returned to the Philippines, as a teacher and then as principal to the people she’d grown to love so much.  

As a postscript: The cruel Japanese second-in-command, Konishi, was captured and tried for his war crimes.  While awaiting execution he had a change of heart and was instructed in the Catholic faith by an American priest.  Fr. John P. Wallace said about Konishi, “his embracing the Catholic faith was genuine and sincere.  He told me that he had been impressed by the example of Catholic sisters and priests whom he had encountered during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines.”  [2]   (page 217 Flanagan) 

Sixty years have passed since the rescue, since the hard time of the imprisonment. Yet for all that, it’s certain that Sister Beata would say to “offer it up.”  Her perfect resignation to the divine will has been her signature and her legacy - and her peace. 

©  Christine A. Snyder, 2005.

 

SOURCES:

The Los Banos Raid: The 11th Airborne Jumps at Dawn, Lt. Gen. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr. USA (Ret.). Novato, CA : Presidio, c1986.

Fulton, John, Staff Sergeant USA (Ret.),  Kinnelon, New Jersey, telephone interview.

Mackie, Sister Beata, Maryknoll Motherhouse, Ossining, New York.


[1] The Los Banos Raid: The 11th Airborne Jumps at Dawn, Lt. Gen. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr. USA (Ret.). Novato, CA : Presidio, c1986.

 [2] The Los Banos Raid: The 11th Airborne Jumps at Dawn, Lt. Gen. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr. USA (Ret.). Novato, CA : Presidio, c1986.


Nun Rescued 60 years ago | From Nephew Logan Enright | 100th Birthday
99th Birthday | Sister's Photo Album | Kinship | Links

 



 

Sister Mary Beata Mackie's
100
th Birthday


Click on any picture for a larger image

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Julie Snyder (and family) produced this wonderful booklet on Aunt Clarisse's family

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Sister Beata at a special Mass celebrated by Father Thomas Marti, M.M. at the chapel on the fourth floor of the Maryknoll Sisters' building in Ossining, NY

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Sister Miedal Stone holds the 100th Birthday cake.


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Sister Helene O'Sullivan, President of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation, reads the Papal scroll at Mass.


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Sister Helene O'Sullivan shows Sister the Papal scroll. Sister Joan Mury, Member of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregational Leadership Team, and Father Thomas Marti look on.
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Sister Beata applauding those applauding her.

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At the birthday dinner with family.

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13 year old Steven, Kathleen Mackie Bainbridge, and husband Keith with Sister.
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Rod Bond, Sister and Susan Mackie Bond
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Left to Right Top: Keith Bainbridge, Rod Bond, Bob Rowen, Chris Enright Snyder, John Snyder, Susan Mackie Bond, Judy Mackie Jordy, Brian Mackie, Kathy Mullen, Emily Snyder.
Middle: Steve Enright, Sister Mary Beata Mackie, Kathy Mackie Bainbridge, Megan Bainbridge, Emily Mullen.
Bottom: Ryan Mackie, Steve Bainbridge, Tony Mackie, Peter and Julie Snyder.
Click here for a larger image
At the end of almost four hours of celebration, Sister Miedal Stone wheels Sister Beata back to her room, saying goodbye to Peter Snyder.
 

whitehouseletter.JPG (54710 bytes)
Letter from the White House
Click to read it closeup.

 
Special thanks to Sister Helene O'Sullivan and Steve Enright who provided the photos and to Sister O'Sullivan, Christine Enright and Kathy Mackie Bainbridge who helped get the captions right.

 

SisterBeata99cu4.jpg (8347 bytes)

Sister Mary Beata Mackie at her 99th birthday party
at Maryknoll, March 11, 2000

3Sisterspg3.jpg (15123 bytes)MarthaSisterBob.jpg (59560 bytes)
Sister Mary Beata Mackie, 2nd oldest sister at Maryknoll, Sister Miedal Stone, and Sister Pieta Kirby, oldest sister at Maryknoll (by a few months).Martha Rankin Rowen (niece-in-law), Sister Beata (Aunt Clarisse), Bob Rowen, her nephew (her sister Mabel's youngest son).

Nun Rescued 60 years ago | From Nephew Logan Enright | 100th Birthday
 99th Birthday | Sister's Photo Album | Kinship | Links
 

What's your exact relationship to Sister Mary Beata Mackie?  Click here to find out.

 

Album

GordonMabelClarissa.jpg (10581 bytes)Gordon, Mabel and Clarissa (or Clarisse) Mackie (l-to-r).  Worcester, MA   1908-09?

When Sister Beata saw this picture in 1998, she remarked that the doll was hers and little Mabel had taken it from her a moment before this picture was snapped.

 

At the beach (Lord's Point, Connecticut), 1917; also along the Connecticut coast was the home of her late Grandfather, John Hopewell Mackie (1827-1909) and her late Grandmother and namesake, Clarissa Davis (1831-1904).

All her brothers and sisters, and five generations of ancestors can be seen by clicking here.

Clarissa1917.jpg (10039 bytes)
SisterBeata1930s2.jpg (9855 bytes)Sister Beata, 1930s?, in Pittsfield?
Maryknoll Sisters in the Philippines after liberation in 1945.Maryknollphoto1945.jpg (45638 bytes)
SisterBeataportrait.gif (34619 bytes)Post-WWII portrait of Sister Beata
Youngest sister, Anne Rita Mackie (Nan Enright Gustin) and oldest sister, Clarissa Mackie in 1973 in Winchester, MANanandClarisse.GIF (19717 bytes)
50thliberation.jpg (17064 bytes)

50th Anniversary reunion of Maryknoll survivors and 11th Airborne veterans of the liberation of  the Los Banos Internment Camp.  Sister Beata is in the bottom row, second from the right.  Photo from Catholic New York, March 2, 1995.

Article ends: "'We are still filled with deep gratitude, Lord, for our rescue and ask that you bless our rescuers, both living and dead,' Sister Mary Beata Mackie, M.M., offered in prayer."

 

Links


Kinship of Clarisse Mackie
Ancestors of Clarisse Mackie
Los Baños Internment Camp
New Angels from Heaven: Neither the rescued nor the rescuer has forgotten
New Sr. Beata Mackie celebrates 80 years as a Maryknoll Sister

Links to Maryknoll

Homepage
The Maryknoll mission
Recent School of the Americas protest

Other Family Links


All our family A Genealogy Site for Quinn's, Mackie's, etc.
Grandniece Emily Snyder's Art Page
Nephew Paul Logan Enright's Company Page
Nephew Bob Rowen's Company Page
Nephew Bob Rowen's big military history site

Grandnephew Bill Rowen's music site
Great-Grandfather John Hewitt Mackie's story and The General Armstrong and the War of 1812 updated

 

Nun Rescued 60 years ago | From Nephew Logan Enright | 100th Birthday
 99th Birthday | Sister's Photo Album | Kinship | Links
 
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Web Page Design by
Bob Rowen
sisterbeata@libraryautomation.com

 

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