Sister Brigid McGuigan
1924 - 2016
Born: 1st September 1924
Entered Religious Life: 13th October 1947
Died: 17th August 2016
In the hamlet of Carnamoney, Draperstown, in County Derry, some fifty miles west of Belfast, the third of Joseph and Annie Mc Guigan’s nine children, was a little girl born on September 1, 1924. Baptized “Brigid,” early on she became the caregiver for her seriously ill sister Rose and her grandmother. As a girl, Brigid loved to ride on the back of her brother’s motorcycle and attend Saturday night parish dances with her siblings. She also delighted to hike along the rolling heather-clad foothills of the nearby Sperrin Mountains. As those boggy uplands beckoned her, little could she have imagined then that one day she would hike to the summit of California’s 14,505 ft. Mt. Whitney.
Although a young man proposed to Brigid, at twenty-three she chose the religious life joining the Religious Sisters of Charity in 1947 and making her final profession six years later. After working with troubled adolescents in England for five years, in 1958 she was sent overseas to teach at St. Columban School in Garden Grove, California. Subsequently she was assigned to St. Bridget of Sweden School in Van Nuys.
While serving as Director of Religious Education for St. Edward’s parish in Dana Point from 1971 to 1974, Sr. Brigid recognized that the central mission of her ministry would be the fostering of spiritual growth. Thus, she embarked on developing programs for the faith formation of parents for the religious development of parish youth. She continued along this path at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in East Hollywood. During summers, she completed her Masters Degree in Religious Education at Seattle University.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles recognized Sr. Brigid’s exceptional talents by appointing her as Co-Director of Campus Ministry. In this capacity, from 1978 to 1987, she developed training programs for Campus Ministry and Catholic student leaders at all the major colleges and universities from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Her success led her to be appointed as full-time Campus Ministry Director from 1987 to 1990. From1990 through 1998, Sr. Brigid traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, England and Ireland as an expert consultant to religious communities and parishes offering workshops in conflict resolution and in personal spiritual development.
In 1998, Sr. Brigid became Pastoral Associate of Our Lady of Malibu parish where she developed the Rite of Christian Initiation process to foster the spiritual growth of adults wishing to join the Catholic community. The key to her ministry was the training of parishioners to serve as catechists. She worked with couples preparing for marriage and with couples in troubled marriages. OLM parishioners frequently sought her spiritual guidance. While much of her ministry was with adults, she had a love and special aptitude for working with troubled children. She always believed that her job was to empower others to do what she was doing. Sr. Brigid will be remembered for her extraordinary ability to help people see themselves as God sees them and then to go out and reshape their world in light of the Gospel.
Fr. Bill Kerze reflected on the life of his friend and colleague, Sr. Brigid, in an article in The Malibu Times called ‘Gifts of the Spirit’. Click HERE to read Fr Bill's reflection.
Another local Malibu newspaper published a tribute to Sr Brigid. Click on the following link to read the article - Malibu community reflects on joyful, faithful life of Sister Brigid McGuigan.