Biographies

Sister Margaret Mary Slattery, MM

Born: February 27, 1875
Entered: February 2, 1917
Died: November 26, 1964

Sister Margaret Mary, Katharine A. Slattery, was born in Hudson, New York on February 27, 1875. She entered Maryknoll in 1917, and made her first Profession, February 15, 1921. Sister was now in the forty-fourth year of her religious profession.

After graduating from the Public Schools of Athens, New York, Katharine Slattery worked at dressmaking for a time and then became an assistant to the local Post Master. She remained in the Postal Service for twenty-one years, until she entered Maryknoll. During these years at home, Katharine’s apostolic zeal was very evident. The Italian families who lived in the vicinity of Hudson, New York, were not able to attend Mass, as there was no regular transportation to bring them across the river. Sister arranged to hire a boat regularly for these families, so that they could attend Mass on Sunday. Later, she was instrumental in arranging for a priest to celebrate Mass in the Italian colony. In 1922, the year of her first Profession, Sister Margaret Mary established the Post Office at Maryknoll.

She became the first Mistress, which post she held until her retirement in 1945 – a matter of twenty-four years. During this time, under Sister’s direction, the work developed from a small office into a First Class Post Office. She was one of the founding members of the Westchester Post Masters Association. She was active in the organization all during the years, and several times entertained the members at Maryknoll.

During these years at the Post Office, Sister was busily engaged in other apostolic activities. She initiated, and for twenty—five years, directed, a program of religious instruction at Millwood. Sister Margaret Mary emulated her heavenly patroness in her zeal for devotion to the Sacred Heart. For many years she personally sent the leaflets of the League each month to all the houses of our Congregation.

Sister Margaret Mary’s apostolate at the Homeknoll was pleasantly interrupted in 1949, when she accompanied Mother Mary Columba on her Visitation to the West Coast. Sister thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse of the West Coast missions, and often referred to it in later years.

In 1959 when Sister’s health became somewhat frail she went to Bethany. Although her hearing and memory became increasingly impaired, Sister’s lovely spirit of cheerfulness and thoughtfulness of others never left her. She was always keenly interested in all our mission work around the world and loved to talk with the Sisters as they returned for Decennial.

Sister received the Sacrament of the Sick some days ago, after an episode of weakness. On Thanksgiving eve, Sister Mary Mercy noted new symptoms, indicating the slowing up of the circulatory system. Together with the Bethany sisters, we prayed with Sister during the evening, reciting the prayers for the dying. Sister blessed herself and joined us as best she could. When we had finished the prayers she thanked us most graciously for praying with her. Sister had a quiet night and was conscious most of the time. While the Sisters at her bedside were reciting the prayers for a departing soul, at 1:45AM she very gently slipped away. Sister Margaret Mary will be buried from Bethany Convent at 11 o’clock on Saturday morning.

We shall all miss dear Sister Margaret Mary, and I know you will keep her good soul in your prayers.