Sister Maureen McGuane, MM
Born: July 10, 1925
Entered: September 6, 1950
Died: January 8, 1994
Very early on Saturday, January 8, 1994, Sister Maureen Damien McGuane peacefully made the ultimate gift of her life to God.
Mary Louise McGuane was born on July 10, 1925 in Syracuse, New York. Her parents were John and Julia Sullivan McGuane both of whom had immigrated to the United States from Ireland in their teens. Mary was proud of her Irish heritage and carried it with her always. Mary had only one sibling, a sister.
The McGuanes were members of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, a parish with strong mission interests since the pastor was then Diocesan Director of the Propagation of the Faith. Mary attended St. Anthony of Padua Grade School and High School in Syracuse. After receiving her R.N. from St. Joseph School of Nursing, she served as a Registered Nurse for one year at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse and, inspired by the life of Father Damien the Leper, for two years at St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu. She explained her vocation to Maryknoll in these words, “While working in Hawaii, I saw the need for missionaries and perhaps with my training I will be better able to do missionary work than if I joined a regular religious order!”
Mary entered Maryknoll on September 6, 1950 and at her Reception in 1951 received the name, Sister Maureen Damien, because of her devotion to Father Damien. After her First Profession on March 7, 1953, her first assignment and the highlight of her life was to be one of the staff nurses for Mother Mary Joseph. Through wonderful talks with Mother, Maureen gained insights into Mother’s spirit. Maureen “glowed” when she spoke of Mother, which she did frequently.
In 1954, Mary was on a special assignment in Kansas City caring for our Sister Omer.
In 1955, Sister Maureen was assigned to Maryknoll Sanatorium in Monrovia, California. Sh use the talents God had given her to care for the sick with charity and patience. Her loyalty to Maryknoll and her great desire to serve God were demonstrated by the cheerfulness and compassion with which she accepted her assignment in April of 1957 to nurse Sister Regina Rosaire Gray. Maureen left immediately for Bolivia. On March 7, 1959, Maureen made her Final Profession in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She remained in the Bolivia/Peru Region doing nursing in Riberalta, Bolivia and in Puno, Peru until 1968 when she returned to the United States to help care for her parents.
In 1973, Sister Maureen came to the Center to give service to the Senior Unit, acting as chauffeur and coordinator of recreation. She is remembered for her generosity, her love for our older Sisters, and her desire to provide a good time for them. Maureen returned to Bolivia in 1975 to take charge of the Center House, Casa Rosario; however, it became apparent to Maureen that, due to her multiple health problems, she could best serve the community by returning to the United States. In 1979, she returned to the Center for Congregational Service in the Development Department doing Data Processing.
In 1984, Maureen became a member of the Eastern U.S. Region. Her apostolate was with the Nursing Sisters Home Visiting Service in Brooklyn. Maureen most recently held the position of Staff Nurse and On-site Home Care Coordinator at Victory Memorial Hospital. She worked in this position three days a week which allowed her to assist older residents of her apartment building by taking them to doctors’ appointments, shopping, and other needs. She cooked and shared meals with her elderly neighbor and dear friend. Maureen was outgoing and social and well-known to her neighbors who frequently called on her in their times of need. Her position was reversed when she became ill and in turn these same friends and neighbors wholeheartedly assisted her in her own time of need.
Maureen’s work with the Nursing Sisters was rewarding for her and gave her many opportunities to maintain contact with Hispanic people. Maureen described her work in the agency as an opportunity to reach out to others and said her nurse’s position gave her the freedom for person-to-person contact with both patients and staff. She also served as assistant to the Chaplain. When Maureen reached the age of 65 in June of 1990 she expressed her intent to keep on working with the agency, “God willing and the bones holding up!”
Maureen entered wholeheartedly into the Eastern U.S. Region and generously contributed her talents to further the mission and spirit of the Region. Her presence at regional meetings was regular and supportive. She especially enjoyed small group gatherings at which times she freely shared her strong faith and feelings. Her forthrightness and her sense of humor were refreshing gifts in which all shared.
Maureen is remembered as a person with many gifts which she generously shared with others. She loved to cook, to garden, and to use her mechanical and artistic skills for the enjoyment of others. Maureen loved to celebrate – and we join her this morning in celebrating her eternal life with God.
For this Eucharistic celebration, we welcome our Maryknoll brother, Father Mike Duggan and extend our sympathy to Sister Maureen’s family and friends.