Sister Margaret McGarry

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


April 11, 1928 – July 9, 2013

For S. Peg McGarry, these or similar words, became her mantra.

During her life’s journey, Peg grew in the realization that, “ the Congregation of the great love of God, the Sisters of
Saint Joseph are committed to unity and reconciliation; called to be one with God, with one another and with all of creation”.

This morning we honor the life and memory of Sister Margaret McGarry and celebrate her entrance into eternal life and her oneness with God.

Some of what I share this morning is based on Peg’s own reflections; those given in 2011 on her retirement after 47 years of teaching, administering and serving at Regis College or from articles she had written.

As a child, Peg grew to know the Sisters of Saint Joseph and to develop affection for them, while she was a student and they her teachers at Saint Mary’s Elementary and High School in Brookline. There she received the foundation for her lifelong educational pursuits. It is no secret that Peg was recognized as an outstanding student.

It was also at St. Mary’s that her desire to serve God was inspired by the Maryknoll missionaries who would came each year to speak to the high school students.

During her 68 years as a Sister of Saint Joseph, Peg taught us much, about life, about compassion, about relationship, about being a Sister of Saint Joseph and about this universe we all share. She did this in a quiet, simple, intelligent, methodical, deliberate, yet, gentle way.

In her remarks at Regis upon her retirement, June 14th 2011, Peg stated and I paraphrase, that to her, life is a journey, or perhaps a pilgrimage with a desired goal. At various stages in life one journey ends and then one sets off in another direction; journeying always in the loving presence of God, and in relationship with others. The goal of this journey or pilgrimage? Relationship with God and others, understanding that this relationship is at the heart mission, recognizing that we are called to be one with God, with each another and one with all of creation.

As a Sister of Saint Joseph, Peg lived our mission of unity and reconciliation, by honoring and welcoming the dear neighbor with dignity, respect and love. She believed that each of us contributes to this Oneness or unity, in a unique and individual way. She also believed “that chemistry was a way of thinking about God, because of how beautifully all of creation is interlocked and Interconnected at the atomic level”.

Peg came to this conviction as a true chemist might, because she embodied the elements of quiet determination, a listening ear, a willingness to share her opinions, an ability to face life as it came to her, thoughtful questioning, thirst for knowledge, and so much more.

It was in the outdoors, especially at the ocean, the mountains or while enjoying others planting and pruning their gardens, that Peg felt closest to her God. There she experienced and recognized God’s presence. The words of the Psalmist “The heavens declare the glory of God”, were hers. Yes, everything in this world is interconnected. Yes, we are all one.

The readings selected for Peg’s liturgy this morning are reflective of her life’s journey…the words we will hear from our Constitution states “ our prayer like our ministry and our vowed life in community requires the humility, the fidelity and the courage to let ourselves be emptied by God that we may be filled with love. A love that flows out to one another and to those whose lives ours touch-a love that flows back into our deepening intimacy with God”. This is how Peg lived her life in relationship with God, to others and to all creation.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Peg’s local community, Therezon, Betty and Lee, through their presence, care, love and companionship were always a great support to Peg especially during the months that Peg was at Bethany Health Care Center. The same could be said of the nurses and staff at Bethany. To care involves both head and heart.

The following words from Peg meant for the Regis community could also apply to each of us. I quote: “ May the Spirit enflame our hearts with love as together we strive to foster the vision in our community and in the ever widening circles of individual experiences. I have been blessed to participate with you in our mission. A multitude of thanks to each of you, companions on the journey”. End quote.

Peg died as she lived, with peaceful gentle grace.

We have wonderful memories of Peg. These are truly gifts given by her to each of us. They help us to recall those times that connected us with one another. I invite anyone who wishes to come forward and briefly share a thought or way in which S. Peg touched your life.

We give thanks to God for the Gift of S. Margaret McGarry in our lives and rejoice with her that she is now experiencing the ultimate goal of her pilgrimage, eternal life with her God.

Given by: Roseann Amico, CSJ
July 12, 2013