This is the text of the tribute to Sister Margaret given at her funeral on 29th January 2016 by Sister Joan.
Margaret was born in Ireland in1930 and left her home town in Gort, County Galway 20 years later in order to follow her desire to become a Religious Sister. This desire became a reality when she made her First Profession in 1952 with The Sisters of St Gildas in France. On her return to England she studied for a teaching diploma and taught for several years in our schools in Somerset and London.
In the early 60,s Margaret embraced Vatican 2 wholeheartedly. She heard the cry of the poor and that famous quote from Gaudiem et Spes.
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.”
From then on Margaret’s, spirituality was being fully human and being involved in humanity and finding God there.
So she asked to leave teaching in our private schools and studied to become a social worker and when qualified she worked first in Birmingham and later joined the Crusade of Rescue in the Westminster Diocese. This entailed a great deal of travelling all over London and the Home Counties helping young pregnant women who were alone and facing difficult decisions. This work also involved working with young couples wanting to adopt children.
On retirement Margaret became more actively involved in the parish as a member of the parish and the deanery team. She worked on the RCIA programme. She had groups of young mothers, who having dropped off their children to school met together to share the Scriptures in view of helping their children grow in faith. Margaret enjoyed going into the Infant school to read with the young children. She was also very committed in the Justice and Peace Movement and represented the congregation at diocesan level. One of her great joys was the Padre-Pio group which she continued to organize until quite recently.
Remember this was her retirement but she still had so much energy to give, so she enrolled in a course to qualify for massage with the principal intention of ministering to people who did not have the means to avail of this service. So she went along to Crisis at Christmas for some years where she washed and massaged the feet of many homeless people. Margaret was unstoppable.
Of course we must not forget her great love of animals, cats, dogs, you name them ,she loved them, and could often be seen walking the dogs of our neighbours. She knew them all by name.
During her long life Margaret had such a good influence on so many people and I am sure that many of you here today will have your own memories of her and your own reasons for gratitude. She had so many gifts and was always so willing to share them.
I would like to end with a quote from Matthew 25 v 34 -36 because these words were the reality of Margaret’s daily living.
“I was hungry and you fed me. Thirsty and you gave me a drink.
I was a stranger and you received me in your home.
Naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me.”
Jesus has truly said to her
“Come Margaret, welcome home my good and faithful friend”