Sister Margaret Mary FitzSimons
1919 – 2013
Born: 9th May 1919
Entered Religious Life: 17th January 1938
Died: 9th March 2013
An appreciation of Sr Margaret Mary FitzSimons
Eulogy given at Sr. Margaret Mary’s Funeral Mass by Sr Kathleen Newell
A little boy who lived near one of our convents in Ireland explained to his friend that the ladies wearing black dresses and lived in the convent were sisters who hadn’t yet passed their examinations to be sisters.
I was a lady dressed in a black dress and Sr. Margaret Mary wore a white veil when we first met. We exchanged greetings and before I could say another word, she said, “You know you could get into trouble for speaking here.” She lost no time in helping me pass my examination to be a sister! The year was 1940 and we’ve been friends ever since.
One of Sr. Margaret Mary’s first assignments was teaching 2nd graders in a poor area of Dublin City. Like our foundress, Mother Mary Aikenhead, Margaret had a great love and respect for the poor. She was determined that these children would grow up with a good sense of their dignity as children of God. Their social status could never change that. She also influenced the parents, letting them know that lack of money didn’t mean that they couldn’t have a good self-image.
Good manners was a priority for Sr. Margaret Mary. Parents began to notice the difference in their children’s behavior especially at table. One mother questioned her little girl about this and received the reply, “Sr. Margaret Mary wants us to eat like ladies and she showed us how!” Sister was anxious to have the children live in pleasant surroundings. Her artistic ability enabled her to do this at least while they were in school.
Sr. Margaret Mary also taught in this country and I’m sure that she is very happy to see a former student, Msgr. Michael Meyers, concelebrate at Mass of the Resurrection today. She must also be happy to see so many family & friends here. Margaret loved her family.
Probably Sr. Margaret Mary is best known for her work at Marycrest Manor Nursing Home. She will be remembered as a kind and gracious lady in her capacity as administrator there for almost 25 years. She believed that pleasant surroundings contributed to the well-being of residents and staff. She certainly provided that.
She deeply appreciated the contributions of benefactors and volunteers and was prompt in giving thanks.
In her declining years when she became a resident at Marycrest, she often told me that she could never be grateful enough for the excellent care. If someone were asked to describe Sr. Margaret Mary, I think that the word gracious would come to mind. In her room she kept a dish of candy for nurses and housekeepers who cared for her. Sr. Margaret’s sweet way of saying, “Thanks”! Since the dietary staff didn’t usually come to her room, she would write a thank-you note in her beautiful hand-writing and place it on the tray before returning the tray to the kitchen.
Sr. Margaret Mary knew that she was loved, and proof of that was the outpouring of grief on Saturday when she died and passed from the caring hands of the Marycrest nurses to the loving hands of God where, as today’s reading tells us, “no torment can touch her.” Forever, she will “rest form her labors and her works will follow her”. May she rest in peace. Amen.