For over 45 years, Rhonda Mary Maingot has dedicated her life to the advancement of God’s work in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. As a co-founder and directress of the Living Water Community, Rhonda embodies the words ‘Missionary Disciple’ and truly lives out her Catholic faith through apostolic mission.
She was born in Trinidad on August 16, 1946 and is the fifth of seven children. She, together with her siblings, grew up attending weekly Holy Mass. The influence of her paternal grandmother and Catechism classes at school laid the foundation for her faith. While exhibiting a wise vulnerability, Rhonda has admitted to having doubts about her faith during her teenage years.
As life progressed, this was not to be the end of Rhonda’s internal rumblings. She wrestled with God and as she stated in the book Love and Show the World how to Love: “…my life seemed to have lost direction”.
March 13, 1975 was a turning point for Rhonda. At 28 years old, she had an encounter with the Risen Lord that transformed her life. “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid” were the words that God spoke to her.
From then the call on Rhonda’s life led to the birth of the Living Water Community (LWC), a Lay Ecclesial Movement with a far-reaching ministry that caters to the needs of society’s most disenfranchised.
Over the years, LWC has grown by leaps and bounds under Rhonda’s stewardship. They have steadily expanded their outreach to include: pastoral centres for the homeless, a halfway house for abandoned children, a hospice for the terminally ill, drug rehabilitation centres, developmental programmes for young women, a home for the aged and more recently a school for migrant and refugee children.
In 1988 the organisation founded a permanent mission to the Netherlands Antilles. Barbados and St Lucia followed thereafter in 2003 and 2009, respectively. The Community has been blessed to offer five brother members to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, testament to its commitment to the continuous formation of their brother members for vocation. At present there are 20 consecrated brothers and sisters living in household communities and 51 living around the world.
Among Rhonda’s many achievements is the establishment of the Trinity Television Network in 1993 and the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications, the following year. Today, Trinity TV offers a myriad of media services and is the lifeblood of all local and regional Catholic programming, evangelising the Good News to God’s faithful throughout the Caribbean.
For her life’s service to community, country and humanity, Rhonda has received many prestigious awards. She has been recognised by the government of Trinidad and Tobago and received a national award, the Hummingbird Gold Medal for Community Service. LWC has also received awards for its philanthropic work and in the field of religious communication. These are namely, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for Community Service and Daniel J Kane Religious Communication Award, University of Dayton, Ohio, USA.