Biographies

Sister Margaret McCoy, MM

Born: March 10, 1910
Entered: October 15, 1929
Died: August 20, 1996

We gather today to celebrate the Liturgy of Resurrection, for Sister Margaret McCoy, who was called to eternal life with God on the evening of August 20. We gather to thank God for her life and her dedication to mission. She died very peacefully with Sister Denis at her side, praying the rosary. We will miss Margaret’s lovely smile and witty remarks which we came to know and appreciate in these later years as she passed us, pushing her walker down the hall to arrive at the next activity.

Margaret Mary McCoy was born in Ambler, Pennsylvania on March 10, 1910 to Mary Ann Leonard and Thomas McCoy. She was one of seven children. Margaret was educated in Philadelphia, graduating from West Philadelphia Girls High School after which she worked as a clerk typist for almost two years before entering Maryknoll. When asked why she was interested in entering Religious Life, she answered very simply, “to help in God’s work”, and this beginning motivation was sustained throughout her life in many different situations of ministry and community.

After entrance into Maryknoll on October 15, 1929, she received the name of Sister Mary Ann Francis and made first profession on January 6, 1932. Sister was very proud to be a member of the first class of Maryknoll Teachers Training School and received her teacher’s certificate before leaving for mission in Los Angeles while she was teaching first grade there. Sister studied Japanese and would have been happy to work in Los Angeles all of her life, but the war broke out in 1941 and many of the people were sent to internment camps elsewhere, and Sister was assigned to Hawaii. After a very adventuresome boat trip dodging submarines, she arrived in beautiful Hawaii, which she recalled in later years as a missioner’s dream, and described it in these words, “every culture and race was present among the people and there was ample opportunity to spread the Gospel”. Sister Margaret McCoy

During her thirty-six years in Hawaii she taught hundreds of children in parochial primary schools in Kalihi and Kaneohe and will long be remembered by both the students and their parents for her dedication to them. During this time she also prepared children for First Communion through CCD classes on Saturdays and assisted the Vietnamese people, who were sponsored by the parish, to learn English. Sister Margaret was most appreciative of her mission life and always expressed her gratitude for her ministry as a teacher, which she felt had been very valuable and was in line with Maryknoll’s mission directions and criteria. For the special events like jubilees and renewal times she always showed her appreciation through written notes of gratitude. Sister enjoyed community life and was always looking for ways to be helpful to those with whom she lived, in her very kind and gentle manner. In any conversation, one thing that could always be counted on was her open, direct comments and questions, often taking others by surprise, but going right to the heart of the matter. As she grew older, Sister very much appreciated the additional time for prayer and felt that God was giving her more joy in prayer than she had ever experienced before. Margaret’s family was another joy in her life and she always looked forward to their frequent visits while keeping up a great correspondence with them over the years.

In 1978 she pondered and discerned a change to Monrovia, as she said this was the first time she was asking for an assignment rather than receiving one, and wished only to do God’s will. Her years in Monrovia were happy and fulfilling and she contributed much to community life there. Then as her disabilities increased, Sister asked to come to the Center where she would be more comfortable. After a period of retirement here, Sister moved to Assisted Living and later to the Fourth Floor after her last hospitalization. Last evening at the Wake Service, many Sisters spoke of Margaret’s loving ways that endured until the very last days of her life.

We thank God for Sister Margaret’s gift of life to the Maryknoll community and for her years of loving service to God’s people in many and varied ways. And it is with mixed feelings that we celebrate this Liturgy of Resurrection; in one way we feel the pain of separation from her and in another, the joy of her entering into eternal life with God. We extend our deepest sympathy to Sister’s family and a warm welcome to those members who are with us today. We welcome also our Maryknoll brother,Father Edward Manning, who will preside at our Liturgy today.