Sister Mary David Berkeley, MM

Born: June 30, 1905
Entered: October 15, 1928
Died: July 22, 1955

“Let the little children come to me… The Reign of God belongs to such as these.” This passage from Luke’s Gospel was chosen as a reading this morning because it reflects so well Sister Mary David Berkeley’s life and her love for children. Just as Jesus welcomed little children to come to him, little children always found a friend in Sister David.

Sister Mary David died in our Residential Care Facility on Saturday, July 22, 1995, at 5:30 a.m. She died as she had lived, peacefully. On Friday when Sister Veronica Marie Carney was praying with her, Sister Mary David said to her friend, “When is Jesus coming? I am ready.”

Margaret Hanna Berkeley was born to William Francis and Mary Corcoran on June 30, 1905 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was one of seven children – three boys and four girls. Margaret grew up in this loving family whose close-knit ties continued to be nourished by frequent contacts to the end of her life.

Upon graduating from primary school, Margaret went to work as a  bookbinder. During her working years she was popular and enjoyed a lively social life. At the same time she felt a persistent call to religious life. At home, her family was very supportive of her religious vocation. She entered Maryknoll October 15, 1928. She made her First Vows on January 6, 1931 at Maryknoll, New York. Three years later on the same date, 1934, also at Maryknoll, she made her Final Profession at which time her superiors said of her that she was generous and eager to do whatever was right.

Prior to her first overseas assignment, Sister Mary David worked both at Bethany guest house and in the editorial offices of the Field Afar, now known as Maryknoll Magazine. Sisters recall her happy disposition and how much she liked to dance. These gifts probably gave Mother Mary Joseph the idea that she would do well working with children. In 1945 she was assigned to care for orphaned children at Maui Children’s Home where she stayed for 20 of her 23 years in Hawaii.

She was assigned to Monrovia as superior in 1966 and then returned to Hawaii in 1967 for a few more years. In 1971 she came to the Center where she began 6 years of Congregational Service in the Development Department. In 1974, she was assigned to the Senior Region. After finishing Congregational Service, she enjoyed two years of community life and pastoral ministry in Terryville, CT. In community she is remembered as a wonderful friend and joyous companion, someone who loved to sing, especially “Tea for Two…!”

Sister Mary David was re-assigned to the Center from Terryville so that she could devote her energy to visiting the sick on the 4th floor and brighten their days. Having always been a prayerful person, she now saw the opportunity to dedicate even more time to contemplation.

During her illness, the Sisters and the nurses on the 4th floor remarked that she never complained and was always grateful for the least little service she received. Indeed this had been characteristic of her throughout life.

We offer our loving sympathy to Sister Mary David’s family and friends. We welcome our Maryknoll brother, Father Del Goodman who will lead us in this Eucharistic Liturgy of the Resurrection for our Sister Mary David.

We rejoice with her now that she experiences life in all its fullness, with dancing and singing in the presence of her God forever.