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Sister Margaret (Joseph Andre) Sullivan

Sister Margaret Sullivan

“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

“Those of us who knew Sister Margaret Sullivan will not be surprised to hear that on the last day of her earthly life she was quite aware of her surroundings and the people there. She was also more than aware of her God and spoke to God often and with great love and longing. Her prayer was simple and straightforward. She asked God to ease her pain and to take her to heaven soon. She wondered what heaven would be like, as we all do, and she prayed with firm confidence that God was ready to answer her prayer,” said Sister Ruth Eileen Dwyer in her commentary for Sister Margaret Sullivan, who died Feb. 10.

“Sister Margaret took seriously this commandment of Jesus that we love one another. Family members, Sisters of Providence, students and friends would testify to this truth. Certainly her family and background provided the environment that fostered the qualities of caring for others and finding practical ways to express that care,” continued Sister Ruth Eileen.

Margaret Julia Sullivan was born March 14, 1923, in Evanston, Ill., to Daniel and Margaret (Deal) Sullivan. One of six children, she first attended Whittier Grade School, Oak Park, Ill., and later St. Thomas Aquinas, Chicago. She graduated from Providence High School, Chicago, and enrolled in Chicago State Teachers College.

Margaret entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1943, receiving the religious name Sister Joseph Andre. She professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1945, and 1950, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.

For more than 50 years, Sister Margaret ministered in education. She commenced teaching in 1945 at St. Mary, Richmond, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included Holy Cross, Indianapolis; St. Simon, Washington; Schulte High School, Terre Haute; Reitz Memorial High School, Evansville; and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. In Chicago, she ministered at Our Lady of Mercy, St. Leo, St. Genevieve, Maternity BVM and Providence High School. She also spent two years at St. John, Robstown, Texas, and several years at Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, Fla.

“Sister Margaret’s motivation was primarily love for God and also love for her family, Sisters of Providence, friends and students. In her Office of Records folder, I found a quote, unsigned, but with which I can readily identify after living and working with her for more than 25 years. The quote reads: ‘Her interest in students followed them beyond the classroom into their future years, and her former students make sure she is invited to class reunions and gatherings. A people-person, Sister Margaret knows each family history and events as well as the skills the students learned in class and continued to develop,’” shared Sister Ruth Eileen.

“Sister Margaret’s favorite missions were Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Schulte High School, whose closing she regretted deeply. She kept alive her interest in her Schulte students. Every reunion when her students would be present, she received a special invitation and her transportation was assured. Her assignment to Schulte was in 1961 and lasted until Schulte closed in 1968. Her loyalty never failed — nor did that of her students,” said Sister Ruth Eileen.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Margaret was celebrated Feb. 13, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by a brother, Daniel, of Creswell, Ore., and a sister, Eileen McNamara, of Jupiter, Fla.

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