Biographies

Sister M. Eleanor Hogan, MM

Born: April 12, 1883
Entered: October 14, 1921
Died: September 10, 1954

“And I heard a voice from Heaven saying write, Blessed are they who die in the Lord for they shall have rest from their labors and their good works follow them.” These words are taken from the Apocalypse of St. John the 14th chapter, the 13th verse. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Brothers, dear Sisters, relatives and friends of our deceased and beloved Sister Mary Eleanor. Once more the angel of death has descended upon this Congregation, and with that peremptory summons, a summons which awaits each and every one of us, to appear before the Master of the vineyard, where, as stewards, we must render an account of our stewardship. We can believe that when that moment came for Sister Mary Eleanor, she could look up into the face of the gentle Master and in reply to His questioning she could say in the words of the young man of the Gospel, “But all these things have I observed from my youth.” And then her Divine Spouse smiling upon her could say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the kingdom which I have prepared for thee.”

More than thirty years ago some friends of Maryknoll, among them, relatives of Maryknollers, organized a mission circle in St. Mary’s parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts — a parish that has given a number of vocations to both communities. Among the early members of that mission circle was Sister Mary Eleanor, then known as Teresa Hogan. Teresa Hogan had been interested in the work of the Propagation of the Faith. She had been made aware of what our non-Catholic brethren had accomplished, were striving to accomplish, and feeling within her something of the missionary spirit of Paul she sought an outlet and an opportunity to express that spirit by joining the Mission Circle. I believe, in the providence of God, that it was the occasion of her vocation. The voice of Christ spoke to her, “Come follow me.” Her thoughts turned to Maryknoll and in Maryknoll she found the fulfillment of the ambition that had been hers, namely, to dedicate her life to do something for God to bring the knowledge of our holy Faith, its consolations and the hope of life eternal to those who sit in darkness. And so she applied for admission and was accepted at Maryknoll. That was in 1921. At that time Sister Mary Eleanor was a woman of mature years. She had had a wide and varied experience in secretarial work, stenography and such, and she brought to Maryknoll the wisdom, the accumulation of the experience and the maturity of her years. She was professed in the year 1924 and then a few years later, in 1927, was given a mission assignment, where she might find an opportunity for the expression of that dedication. The assignment was to the hospital in Manila, Philippine Islands. At the time, the work was in its infancy — in its beginnings. In the fulfillment of her assignment she had an opportunity to work among the poor in that great city, and in the area in which the hospital was located, to instruct children. But her principal work was in connection with the office of the hospital. She also went about and solicited funds and the assistance of good friends on behalf of the hospital. Now that work, that dedication of purpose, that fulfillment of her religious ideals continued for a period of some thirteen years.

About 1940 an illness developed, which necessitated her return to the States. But for her it did not mean a complete curtailment of her activities for as soon as she was able, she went on promotion work for the Congregation. That is to say she went about giving talks on the work of the Congregation, and in particular, the work being done by the Sisters in the Philippines. Sister Eleanor had a very gracious disposition and manner in going about meeting the priests, as I afterwards found. Many priests whom I personally met, spoke so highly of her, and were very much impressed with her gracious manner. Some of them referred to the way she had, it was perhaps the Irish in her, I don’t know, but Sister Eleanor would sometimes meet a priest who was somewhat reluctant and unwilling to give the Sisters an opportunity to take up a collection. But she had a way of completely disarming those reluctant priests and doing it in a way that was absolutely inoffensive, a way they really liked. Whether she tickled their vanity I wouldn’t know. But it obtained the desired effect. That assignment continued until a further worsening of her condition necessitated a notable curtailment of her work. She was assigned to Crichton House and from there used to commute by bus together with the other commuters. She came here to the Motherhouse and worked in the Promotion department and this continued till her last illness.

Sister Mary Eleanor was a good religious; one who strove in her daily living to achieve the ideal that she had set before her. On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee she wrote to her Mother General that she had recaptured, as it were, something of the joy of her first religious profession, and that she was determined on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee to rededicate herself to the sanctification of her soul. Sister Mary Eleanor’s life, without going into further detail, we can say with all sincerity and truth that Sister’s life constitutes a page in the glorious history of this Community, and of this Congregation. She and those who have gone before, have left an inspiring example that the young aspirants of this Community might well hold before their eyes as an ideal and a goal. Sister Mary Eleanor’s life is also a reflection of the glorious work being done by the women of America, both religious and lay,— of the glorious work that is being done in these days by our American women, Catholic women, for the glory of God, for the spread of His Kingdom here in our own country and in the fields afar.

Whatever of weakness or frailty there may have been in her life, I am confident that by her cheerful acceptance and humble submission to God’s will in the notable curtailment in the activities of one who was extremely active by nature, that this humble acceptance of God’s will constituted an expiation of whatever short comings she may have had. Then too, there were the pains and the suffering that accompanied her last illness.

Sister Eleanor was privileged to receive the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church while in the full possession of her faculties. She received them knowing of course that the end was close at hand. She received them with a holy and beautiful resignation. I’d like to call to your attention one of the effects of that great sacrament of Extreme Unction which is the last anointing. The great Doctors, Theologians and Fathers of the Church, for centuries have taught that one of the purposes of the institution of this great sacrament is to prepare the soul for immediate entry into Heaven. That teaching was lost sight of for a few centuries a fact directly attributable to the rigoristic teaching of the Jansenists. That effect is now being promulgated and made known.

To the relatives and friends of Sister Mary Eleanor, to her fellow-religious, I am sure that all of us are mindful of those words of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, St. Augustine whose rule constitutes a basic rule of this Congregation of the Maryknoll Sisters. St. Augustine says, “You who have loved me during life do not forget me in death.” And we can assure Sister Mary Eleanor’s relatives and friends that we who have loved her during life, will not forget her in death. And in a final tribute to the mortal remains of our beloved Sister, let us address to her that excerpt from the litany of the dying, “May the angels of paradise receive thee.” And may thy soul rest in peace. Amen.