My grandmother says when she was a kid in China, she became Catholic because of the Mary Knows nuns. I tried to look that up on the Internet but couldn't find anything. Can you help?

The Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic are part of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. The sisters are missionaries dedicated to overseas service, especially in Latin America, Africa, and East Asia. The Maryknolls' task is to go to a country, with knowledge of its language, and spread the word of God.

Maryknoll sisters even appear in literature. In Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne is a little girl living in a Japanese internment camp in California. Casting about for some kind of activity to absorb her energies, Jeanne turns to the Maryknoll nuns and studies catechism — not so much for spiritual enlightenment or grace as for the attention received by converts:

I was almost one of them. Papa stepped in just before my baptism day. If he had been there during those early months I probably would never have started spending time with the Maryknolls. He was always suspicious of organized religions. I think he had already tried to scare me away from Catholics. That was one of his prime methods of instruction: fear.