As a student at Smith College, Mollie Rogers felt a call to missionary work, but a Catholic overseas mission didn't exist at that time. The United States, with all its European immigrants, was itself considered a mission field.
In 1905, Mollie was one of a few women who joined the fledgling Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, or Maryknolls, who planned to begin work in China. Mollie established the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, a religious community who would live among the people they served rather than in a convent. Their first mission was to Japanese immigrants in the United States, but it wasn't long before the first Maryknoll sisters went to work in China.
The Maryknoll Sisters embraced and modeled a new style of mission and evangelization, empowering countless people around the globe through their selfless service and "option for the poor." Mollie, now known as Mother Mary Joseph, directed the program until her death in 1950, but never served overseas herself. Mollie Rogers' call to overseas mission resulted in thousands of Maryknoll Sisters dedicating their lives for the past 86 years.