Margaret Cunningham, CSJ

We remember her in the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer

April 12, 1930 – August 10, 2020

Margaret Dorothy Cunningham was the oldest of eight children born to Charles and Katherine Cunningham of Lynn. Margaret was raised with her four sisters and three brothers in St. Joseph Parish and attended the elementary school there. Upon completing high school at St. Mary’s in Lynn, Margaret entered the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Margaret’s ministry in education centered mostly on young children, with eighteen years as a first-grade teacher and then sixteen years at the Merrimack Montessori School. She served as a teacher for eight years and the Principal for an additional eight years.

During her tenure at Merrimack Margaret was known as a dedicated educator who saw her role as a witness to Christian values, lived out in promoting respectful relationships with all. Her gentle manner fostered open communication among faculty, staff, administration, and families.

Not only had Margaret earned the necessary certification for Montessori instruction, but she also had prepared herself as a reading teacher and a teacher of students with learning disabilities. After her time at the Haverhill Montessori her next ministry took her to Holy Name, West Roxbury, where she taught the third grade and then focused on providing remedial instruction to students struggling to master reading. We know that the word “retirement” is not in the CSJ vocabulary so, when Margaret left Holy Name, she dedicated her time to being a tutor for the Literacy Development ministry. Her quiet, patient manner proved to be a definite asset in helping those who wished to learn English.

Margaret had a deep love of gardening. Being close to the earth and enabling plants to grow gave her great joy. While she lived at the Motherhouse she shared responsibility for one of the garden plots with her dear friend of many years, Sister Helen Noonan. Margaret had a reputation for being a meticulous gardener whose loving care of her plants yielded a consistently good harvest.
Another source of delight for Margaret was her family, which is fairly extensive. Last year, when she marked her seventieth year as a Sister of St. Joseph, she was so pleased to be surrounded by her nieces and nephews at the jubilee celebration held at St. Elizabeth’s in Milton. It was truly a highlight of the year for Margaret.

Earlier this week, the Lord called Margaret to rise from her earthly existence and soar on eagles’ wings. Let us rejoice that Margaret’s gentle soul has been rewarded for her life of fidelity.

Given by Sister Judith Costello, CSJ
August 14, 2020