September 4, 1923 – September 13, 2015
“O Lord, You are all we have, you give us what we need.
Our lives are in your hands.”
We gather together this morning to celebrate and honor the life of Sister Margaret Eleanor McGuire, also known as Sister Assumpta and fondly called Auntie Margaret by her family. Margaret was a gentle, humble soul who looked for nothing for herself but she confidently put her life in God’s hands.
On this date, September 16th in 1923, William and Beatrice McGuire brought their daughter, Margaret Eleanor, to St. Andrew’s Church in Forest Hills to be placed in God’s hands in the Sacrament of Baptism.
On September 8, 1942 just five days after her nineteenth birthday Margaret put her life in God’s hands when she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph.
The readings that Margaret chose for her funeral Liturgy each speak about the future. Little did she know what the future would hold but Margaret held fast to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah who proclaimed “I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans for peace… a future full of hope. It is God who speaks.” Margaret’s trust in God provided her with the Grace needed to respond to a variety of God’s plans over the next seventy-three years. Margaret’s openness to God’s will and God’s Grace throughout her life allowed her to find God’s peace, joy and hope in everyone and everything. Upon reading about Sister Margaret’s death I received an e-mail from a Sister of St. Joseph who described Margaret in this way. I quote: “Margaret was filled with joy, ALWAYS”; “She was loved by her students and was an excellent teacher.” “She was loved by all of us who lived with her.” “She ALWAYS had a kind word for everyone.” What a tribute to a humble Sister of St. Joseph who put her life in God’s hands.
In the reading from the first letter of St. John we are reminded of the great love that God has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children. Even as children of God, what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed, but when our future is revealed “we shall see God as God really is.” On Sunday, September 13th, Margaret’s future was revealed to her and she now sees God and lives with God for all eternity.
In today’s Gospel from St. John we hear Jesus telling his disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. I have prepared a place for you so where I am you also may be.” Unlike Thomas in today’s Gospel, Margaret’s faith never wavered she knew there was a place prepared for her because she placed her life in God’s hands and now she has life to the full and lives in God’s presence. Perhaps Margaret chose this Gospel as consolation for all of us, telling us not to let our hearts be troubled or sad by her death because now she is in that place which has been prepared for her for all eternity.
As Margaret‘s health declined and she lost the ability to walk and speak, her beautiful smile and the twinkle in her eyes spoke for her. As one person has said, “Margaret was such an example of acceptance and peace in face of her illness. I do not ever remember Margaret without a smile on her face.” What I will remember about Margaret is her impish smile and sparkling blue eyes whose face revealed a peace-filled woman.
For all of us here today, especially Margaret’s wonderful family and her dear friend, Sister Margaret Sheehan , I think Sister Margaret would want us to take to heart the words of this morning’s Gospel “Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be sad. If you really love me rejoice with me because I am with my loving God.” (Paraphrase)
As we celebrate Sister Margaret’s life in Word and Sacrament this morning, let us remember to follow her example and place our own lives in God’s hands.
Margaret, God’s plan for you has been fulfilled. May you rest in the place that God has prepared for you. We the Sisters of St. Joseph and your wonderful family here present celebrate your life and thank you for your presence in our lives.
Patricia E. McCarthy, CSJ