gift of Cubs tickets and the time to watch them during their this-might-be-the-year season; what more could anyone ask for? 

For Sister Margaret Sannasardo, pastoral associate at St. Mary Parish in Riverside, that is close to heaven on earth as she begins her retirement following 23 years of service at the parish.

Sr. Margaret — some call her “Sr. Marge or Marge” (deferring to my Catholic training, I say Sr. Margaret) — came to the St. Mary’s 23 years ago when Fr. Gunderson was pastor. 

She settled in quite quickly and became an asset to the parish and its members. With a bright smile, a sense of humor and laughter, Sr. Margaret took on many responsibilities, including marriage preparation, baptism preparation and the work of the St. Vincent DePaul Society. 

Sr. Margaret was never too busy to make a hospital visit or talk to someone who may have needed someone to listen. Many in the community may have known her through the Covenant of Churches.

Friends, family and parishioners gathered to honor and bid a find farewell to Sr. Margaret recently at Mass and reception. Mindful of her proud Italian heritage, many of the refreshments resembled an Italian sweet table. The Oak Room was full — a testament to what this lady has meant to all and the importance of women to the church.

What now aside from the Cubs? She will remain living in Oak Park, which means she will be close to Riverside. She’ll also go on a retreat in Oshkosh, take a trip to the motherhouse in Dubuque and plan for some trips, possibly to Sicily next year. 

After some relaxation, she will involve herself in some volunteer ministry; you can’t keep a good girl down.

In a letter to her “Dear Friends of St. Mary Parish” she expressed her thanks and gratitude to all those she has encountered over the past 23 years, including the pastors, in particular Fr. Tom May, and all the staff members of the parish. As she says, she will be “playing and praying.”

 She told me, “It’s been a wonderful journey.” Sr. Margaret, we are all glad we were along for the ride.

Keep praying for the Cubs especially Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta, nice Italian boys. To paraphrase your closing in your letter, “We’ll see you in church.” Bless you.