NUNDAY with Sister Margaret Irene, IHM

Blog Published: October 12, 2015
By Jane

Today's NUNDAY blog was submitted by Siobhán O'Neill, Social Media Editor for VISION Vocation Network!

Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Margaret Irene was my great aunt. When Aunt Mugsy, as we called her, entered religious life at the age of 22, she wrote this letter to her grandmother Carrie:

September 21, 1931

Dearest Grandmother,

I suppose by this time you have heard from Mother what I have decided to do with my life. Although you probably will never understand this step, Mother and Dad do. I expect to be very happy here. Give my love to Aunt Margaret and if you all have time, drop a line occasionally.

Margaret Irene

Although I didn't know Sister Margaret Irene's daily routine as an IHM teacher, principal, or mother superior (in Merced, California), I knew that Aunt Mugsy's strength, determination, and conviction for her life’s work apparent in her 1931 note stayed with her through her long and amazing life as a religious and woman of faith.

Her father also sent her a touchingly funny poem as she entered:

I'm the Daddy of a Nun:
Sure my daughter has been vested, and my joy I cannot hide,
For I've watched her from the cradle with a father's honest pride.
But the morning that she left me early, I was feeling mighty blue,
Just a-thinking how I'd miss her, And the things she used to do.
But now, somehow it's different, With each rising of the sun,
And my heart is ever singing, I'm the daddy of a nun.
Since to err is only human, There's a whole lot on the slate,
That I'll have to make account for when I reach the golden gate.
But then I'm not a-worrying about the deeds I've done
I'll just whisper to St. Peter I'm the daddy of a nun.

I'm sure Sister Margaret Irene laughed and smiled at her father's lighthearted support as she often did during the many obstacles thrown her way as a teacher, administrator, and mother superior. I for one appreciated her humble laugh and smile as my wise great aunt shared stories of going to Rome just after Vatican II, teaching in the Los Angeles school district, and volunteering a record 17,000 hours at St. Vincent's hospital after retirement.

Sister Margaret Irene's life resumé is one to admire but her conviction and calling, with the support of her family, is truly extraordinary.

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