Dr Maria Meilak receives prestigious award for her missionary work
Well known Maltese lay missionary Dr Maria Meilak was one of the first two alumni of the University of Malta chosen to receive a prestigious award in acknowledgement of distinction in their field, as well as leadership on a community, national or international level. The Award will be offered on an annual basis.
The Adjudicating Committee reached the decision, ratified by the University’s Council, to give the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award to two nominees – general surgeon, Dr Maria Meilak and satellite communications leader, Dr Hector Fenech. The nominators for the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award (OAAA) were graduates, staff, students and alumni of the University of Malta.
“My mission experience in Malta and overseas has been and is a preparation for my final test when I pray Jesus will tell me that I sorted Him out well when I saw Him hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, sick and in prison” said Dr Meilak. Her life experience illustrates this vividly.
After graduating as a Medical Doctor in 1973 and working as house-officer at St. Luke’s Hospital, Dr Maria Meilak travelled regularly to offer voluntary medical services in some of the most dangerous places in Africa and Central America. Her first mission was with Concern Ireland to Ethiopia. It was during a civil war and she had to change places of work from Adignat and Makelle up North to Nazareth south of Addis Abeba.
Another dangerous posting was in Uganda during the civil war there. Dr Meilak spent a year in Kampala at a Franciscan mission hospital, working 12 hours daily in the operating theatre dealing with war wounds and emergency obstetrics. The patients were mostly poor and the children were in rags.
While in Honduras, Central America – known as the murder capital of the world – in her spare time time outside hospital Dr Meilak accompanied a Peruvian Sister on her prison visits. This led to more voluntary work with prison inmates.
In 1985 Dr Meilak co-founded the Voluntary Lay Missionaries Group, under Pontifical Missions in Malta. She is also President of the Society for the Transport of Sick People to Lourdes.
Dr Meilak is a supporter of Aid to the Church in Need and gave a presentation on her missionary work at ACN Malta’s conference “Can Christians survive persecution?” in May 2014.