Sister Margaret Good, MM

Born: September 7, 1909
Entered: September 7, 1942
Died: March 26, 1998

Today’s Responsorial Psalm: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God,” offers us a poignant reflection on the life of our Sister Margaret Good, with whom we were privileged to share life as a Maryknoll Sister for fifty-five years. She is remembered as an innovative educator, a capable administrator and a delightful companion in Community.

Sister Margaret Good, M.M., died peacefully in the Residential Care Unit of the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, New York, at 10:40 p.m., Thursday, March 26, 1998. She was eighty-nine years of age.

Margaret Eleanor Good was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 7, 1909, to Jeremiah Charles and Margaret Eleanor Quinn Good. She had three brothers: Judge Francis J. Good, Rev. Albert E. Good, M.M., and Charles Good and two sisters: Catherine and Mary.

Margaret graduated from Girls Commercial High School in 1925. She received her Bachelor Degree in Education from Boston Teachers College in 1929 and her Master of Arts Degree in Education from Boston College in 1940. Margaret became interested in Maryknoll at the age of twenty-one when her brother Albert entered the Seminary at Maryknoll. Her desire came to fruition after teaching in the City of Boston’s public schools for twelve years.

Margaret entered Maryknoll from St. Paul’s Parish, Cambridge, on September 7, 1942, at Maryknoll, New York. She received the religious name of Sister Miriam Catherine. She made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1945, and her Final Profession on the same date three years later at Maryknoll, New York.

After First Profession, she was assigned to the Bronx where she served as Principal, House Superior and teacher. While teaching at St. Anthony’s, she began studies at Fordham University for a Ph.D. in Education. She completed her studies and doctoral dissertation and received her Ph.D. cum laude in 1952. She is remembered by all the Sisters for her thoughtfulness. The Bronx was a tough, noisy first mission and she tried to moderate the stress by allowing the Sisters to talk at all the meals. She was not afraid to try to correct any wrong. Sister was known to disarm students carrying knives and even to ring the school bell out the window in order to stop a neighbor who was beating his wife. Her students also remember the remarkable influence she had in their lives.

A former student wrote to her more than forty years later: “Many years ago in 1948, I was a student in your eighth grade class at St. Anthony of Padua, Bronx, New York City. I have thought of you often since then. I remember being terrified at the thought of being promoted to your class – you were thought to be very stern you know! How pleasantly surprised I was to gradually learn how very kind, considerate and supportive you were, behind a no-nonsense demeanor.”

She went on to say: “I have had many hardships since 1948, many times when I have been tempted to make a questionable choice or betray my standards, I would think of you and be inspired to try just one more time. …[A]t age thirty-three, I went back to get my diploma. At age thirty-six, I entered college and at age forty, I received my professional nursing license and my first real surge of pride. I feel that you were a basic force in my early formative years. The faith you had in my abilities made it really difficult to betray that faith. I am sure that many other students feel the same way. You deserve every blessing.”

After seven years at St. Anthony’s, Sister Margaret spent two years on the faculty of Rogers College. In 1955, she was assigned to Panama where she was Regional Superior, principal and teacher. She helped to open a school for children of the workers of a banana plantation. In 1958, Sister Margaret boarded a freighter on which she was the only passenger and traveled to her new assignment in the Philippines. She spent eight years as Dean of Women at Maryknoll College (now Miriam College) in Manila. She taught history, philosophy of education, teaching techniques, personality development and served as moderator of the Glee Club, Student Council and Historical Society. She is also remembered from this period as an innovative teacher of missiology in the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate. A typical assignment might be, “imagine yourself in rural Africa and explain the Empire State Building to the people.”

From 1967 to 1974 she served in Africa, teaching in schools in Tanzania and Zambia. She joined the Senior Region in 1974 and spent one year in Gallup, New Mexico, teaching in the high school. She was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 1976 because of increasing health issues. She did part-time work in the Development Department until 1984. Even as failing health affected her, she continued to work with her characteristic good humor. She was assigned to Residential Care in 1984.

We extend our loving sympathy to Sister’s family and friends. We welcome our celebrant, Maryknoll Father James Lehr, who will preside at this Eucharistic Liturgy as together we give thanks for Sister Margaret’s life.