March 26, 1936 – November 25, 2014
We gather this evening as the People of God, the Church, to remember the life of Sister Margaret Mary Shea. Margo to many of us, Auntie Margo to her many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and Sister Margo to all those with whom she ministered. We gather to celebrate Margo’s life as a Sister of St. Joseph for over 60 years and to celebrate her love for learning which she so generously shared with all those whose lives she touched as an elementary school teacher and religious educator. We come together to comfort one another in our sadness and to support one another in our belief that life has not ended for Margo it has merely changed. Margo believed in the promise of eternal life given to each of us at Baptism and in the early hours of the morning on November 25th that promise was fulfilled for Margo.
The Scripture passages and music selected for Margo funeral were among those found written down in a folder or were shared in conversation with Margo. I think they summarize very well her ministerial life in religious education or as Margo would often remind me, her ministry of Faith formation of which she was a forerunner and award winning pioneer.
In place of memories, it was Margo’s desire to write a letter that I would read to all of you: her sister, Betty who cannot be with us this evening, her brother Jackie and his wife Fran, her sister, Mary and her husband ,Brian , to her devoted nieces and nephews, her cherished grandnieces and grandnephews in the Almeida, Day, Weller, Brazeau and Shea families., to us her CSJ family especially the Party of 54, her colleagues in ministry and her many friends. One of the Scripture references that Margo suggested as a reading for her funeral is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. As I reflected on this passage I felt that it said what Margo would have said had she had time to write the letter, but sadly, Margo’s strength diminished. Let’s imagine Margo speaking to each one of us in this paraphrased version of Paul’s letter to the Philippians because as Margo told me so politely, “she’d like to have the last word. “
Grace and peace be yours.
I have met some beautiful people in the course of my life: My wonderfully supportive family, my CSJ family, my colleagues in ministry and all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Every time I think about you, I do so prayerfully and my heart fills with joy.
Through you God spoke to me, comforted me and challenged me. I pray that God will continue to use you to reach others; even as God used you to support and uplift me and that what God has begun in us will be brought together in everlasting friendship beyond this life and world.
It is truly amazing to me, as it should be encouraging to all of you, the way in which God is able to turn the unhappy things that happen to us, even our foolish errors and failures, into stepping stones toward the accomplishment of God’s purposes in our world.
God knows how much I long for each of you with all the affection of Christ Jesus! My prayer is that your love may abound more and more until that day when we all gather again at the heavenly banquet.
May God repay you for your kindness to me. I have much to be grateful for and to celebrate!
And now may our loving God who called Margaret Mary Shea as his own in Baptism and Sister Thomas Mary by religious profession as a Sister of St. Joseph grant her eternal peace and joy.
Given by: Patricia E. McCarthy, CSJ