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Sister Margaret Gallagher

Sister Margaret Gallagher

“Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’” (John 14:6)

“Jesus is the path — the way — that Sister Margaret Gallagher trod. Her travel along the way began 90 years ago on Jan. 20, 1915, in Chicago. Her parents, James and Margaret (Bates) Gallagher, had two other children, Eileen (Denning) and James, both now deceased. Margaret Therese Gallagher attended grade school at Our Lady of Sorrows and graduated from Providence High School, Chicago,” said Sister Alexa Suelzer in her commentary for Sister Margaret, who died Aug. 31.

Entering the Congregation Aug. 20, 1932, Sister Margaret professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1935, and Aug. 15, 1940, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in math from the University of Notre Dame. She also received a master’s degree in education administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Sister Margaret’s first mission was St. Benedict, Terre Haute, Ind., in 1934. Other Indiana classrooms included All Saints, Hammond; St. Philip Neri, St. John Academy and St. Agnes, Indianapolis; Cathedral and Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne, St. Charles, Bloomington; Reitz Memorial High School, Evansville. She spent a few years in Washington, D.C., at Immaculata, Immaculata Junior College and Immaculata and Cathedral Minor Seminary. In Illinois, Sister Margaret ministered at Marywood, Evanston, and Providence High School, Chicago. She spent two years in Taiwan and Hong Kong at Providence College and Wah Yang College. The last 19 years of Sister Margaret’s pedagogical ministry were spent in California at Garfield High School and Belvedere Public School, Los Angeles; Pasadena High School, Pasadena; Moreno Valley High School, Moreno Valley; and Marywood, Orange, where she served as principal.

Sister Margaret retired in 1989, but she remained in California to care for her sister Eileen. She returned to the Woods in 2001.

“Like many Sisters of Providence, Sister Margaret taught many subjects, but her forte was math and that was her area of concentration for many years. She was an excellent teacher, not only of bright and advanced students, but also of those who had to plod their way along. At one point, Sister Margaret even organized a class for parents who were stumped by the new math their children brought home from school,” shared Sister Alexa.

“Despite her gifts of attractive appearance, intelligence and personality, Sister Margaret never seemed at ease with herself nor her accomplishments, but regarded herself in a realistic and deprecating — even satiric — manner. Long ago, she had chosen Jesus as her way to the Father, but she was not inclined to talk about it and took a dim view of pretentious pious conversations,” continued Sister Alexa.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Margaret was celebrated Sept. 3, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.

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