She was a young lady of 17 when she boarded a train from Union Station on a journey that would take her to Dubuque, Iowa, where she was to begin her life at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more commonly referred to as the BVMs.

The year was 1953. That young woman was Margaret Sannasardo, affectionately known as Sister Margaret to those who know her as the pastoral minister at St. Mary Parish and a member of the Covenant of Churches serving the churches in our area.

As with many young women who choose to enter the convent, Margaret was right out of high school, a graduate of Immaculata High School in Chicago. Along with 20 other young women, she boarded the Zephyr train and embarked on the journey of a lifetime.

Much like any young person who leaves home for the first time, there is excitement and trepidation as to what lies ahead. The beginning of her journey took place as she became a postulant for the first 6 months followed by 2 years in the novitiate and on March 19, 1958 she made her profession fulfilling her goal to enter the religious life.

As Sister Paul Joseph her journey included teaching in Des Moines; Butte, Mont.; and San Francisco before returning to the area. Having taught all grades, she became an assistant high school principal and a grade school principal in Chicago, choosing to be closer to her parents who were aging. She has done it all.

She served the BVMs as a regional representative and, after a year’s sabbatical, she added to her resume a master’s degree from Loyola University and another master’s degree in pastoral ministry.

Sister Margaret came to St. Mary’s in 1993, so she celebrates her 20th anniversary at the parish and 60 years as a BVM this year. Her work within the community has made her a friend to all, and she is recognized by her infectious laugh and her ability to serve in many capacities.

We don’t know what became of the other young women who boarded that train in 1953, but we can be glad Sister Margaret’s journey led her to our area and sharing her gifts with us. She continues to be an example of one person’s generosity to all. C

Congratulations, Sister Margaret. Bless you.