News and Events
Margaret Catherine Sims, CSJ
We remember her in the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
June 21, 1932 – February 21, 2019
On the cover of your funeral booklet, there is an excerpt from the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph. “We assume as part of our mission the development of loving, prayerful, welcoming communities. We see relationship at the heart of mission, and thus we seek to become ever more united in the mind and heart of Christ Jesus, and to foster growth in one another for the sake of the new creation.” Margaret Catherine Sims truly lived these words as she created loving, welcoming communities of prayer and action throughout her religious life. Relationships were at the heart of all her ministries.
After professing her final vows, Margaret Catherine was missioned to New Mexico for thirteen years, in Santa Fe as an 8th grade teacher and in Santa Rosa as the principal of the school. While in New Mexico, Margaret made a life-changing retreat, ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’ at the Abby of Pecos. In her own words, Margaret stated, “God began to work powerfully in my life”.
When Margaret Catherine returned to Boston, she became very active in the Charismatic Renewal Movement, initiating many prayer groups throughout the archdiocese. At this time, she also joined the staff at the Oblates Retreat Centers in Natick and Rhode Island.
In May of 1984, while attending a retreat in Ohio, Margaret became aware of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions in Medugorje, Yugoslavia. This lead to twenty-two years of leading Pilgrimages to Medugorje and bringing medical supplies and food to the refugees in that country affected by the Civil War, poverty and AIDS. She responded to needs wherever she found them, not unlike the first Sisters of St. Joseph.
Margaret Catherine’s initial call to religious life led to several other calls. She was always open to the movement of God in her life, responding to the dear neighbor without distinction.
In 1993 Margaret founded the Marian Community comprised of lay women and men seeking to deepen their relationship with God. Now called Betania II, it is a beautiful space for quiet, prayer, retreats and contemplation – indeed, sacred space.
Not unlike Mary in today’s Gospel, we can truly say of Sister Margaret Catherine Sims that all her life she proclaimed the greatness of God and now her spirit rejoices in God, her Savior.
Given by, Denise Kelly, CSJ
February 25, 2019
The family of Sister Margaret Catherine Sims welcomes everyone today to the celebration of her life. It was a life filled with so many accomplishments. She touched so many people around the world and all of us here today who hold a special place in their hearts for her. I know what a special blessing she has been to all who knew her. She has been a tower of strength for us all.
In preparing my reflections for today, I began to think to myself how can I honor such a special; woman and yet capture all that she has done in her life in such a short amount of time. I knew it would be a difficult task. I’ll try the best I can to summarize for you.
What comes to mind first are words like: faithful servant, prayerful, extra ordinary woman, strong, generous, loving, focused, powerful, in control, a leader a beacon of light and real. These are a few words to describe Sr. Margaret. She was an extraordinary woman who led an exemplary life in service to God as a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.
To most of you my aunt was known as Sr. Margaret Catherine, the name she chose when she took her vows. It was in honor of her mother who raised her and her mother who9 gave her life. To our family she was known as Aunt Tess. She was always there for all of us whenever we needed her prayers. We knew her prayers protected us and helped us through the years. I’m sure at times she thought the list of prayer intentions were endless with such a big family but she never stopped praying for any of us. She was a source of strength and encouragement through the love she had for each of us.
She was born on June 21, 1932 into the DeLorey family. Following the death of her mother, Catherine, she came to live with her mother’s sister, Margaret and her husband
Ralph Sims. She was raised in Natick with her five brothers and sister, Margaret. Following her graduation from Natick High School she went to Framingham State College and earned a degree in Education.
After taking her final vows she became a teacher and principal at various schools in New Mexico and the Boston area. I always enjoyed hearing the stories of the early years in the novitiate with her dear friend, Peg Horan. I think they often stirred things up!
Her many accomplishments over the years included being Spiritual leader at the Oblate Center in Natick, Marion Messengers and foundress of Betania II in Medway. Our family often had a hard time keeping track of where she was at any given time! I’m sure many of you can relate to having received calls from Sr. Margaret over the years similar to mine. I’d hear her say, “Sue, are you busy?’ To which I would respond, “What do you need and how quickly?” We knew if Sr. Margaret asked us to do something it would always be interesting to say the least. We always helped no matter the time of day.
My aunt loved to relax and spend time during the summer at the beach on Cape Cod after traveling so much during the year. It was always an adventure each spring going down to find the perfect rental. She loved to entertain the Sisters and I know they loved to come. Aunt Tess was always thinking of others and always knew what they liked and wanted.
I remember spending holidays with her and having her update us on her travels, projects and programs she was involved with.
After living such a full life fi=or so many years, her health began or decline and for the last six years she has lived here at Bethany, In the beginning, we enjoyed our talks going over the years. One time she looked at me and said, “Sue, I only hope I have done what God has wanted me to do in my life.” I said, “Aunt Tess, you are the best example to all of those you knew as to what it is to follow God’s Word.” How joyful our God and his Blessed Mother must be in heaven with you today. A glorious day for sure!
During the last two days of my Aunt’s life she was unable to communicate with us or see the world around her but I know she continued to have a strong spirit and was always prayerful.
Our family wishes to extend our heart filled gratitude and thanks to all the Staff here at Bethany for the loving care and respect that you gave to our aunt.
My Aunt loved us all and was deeply loved by so many. She was treasure to us and we have all been so blessed to be the chosen ones in her life. What an amazing gift!
We love you Sr. Margaret. We will miss you and we know you will continue to pray for us always.
Given by Susan Dacey, Niece
February 25, 2019.