Sister Rose Magdalen Collins, MM

Born: March 15, 1912
Entered: December 7, 1934
Died: March 29, 1974

Early in the morning of March 29 at 4:15 a.m. Sister Rose Magdalen Collins entered into unending life. Shortly after last Christmas, she had come to the Center from her mission in Mexico City for medical attention. Those who visited her during these months of illness, either here at the Motherhouse Infirmary, in Phelps Hospital, or at Bethany where she died, were aware that she would not live much longer and all of us are happy that her days of passion are over, a Lenten season shortened by the Divine Pity.

Mary Frances Teresa Collins was born in South Boston, Mass, on March 15, 1912. She attended Gate of Heaven Grammar School and South Boston High School. She entered Maryknoll on December 7, 1934 at the age of twenty-two. On her application form she wrote: “I prefer to enter a foreign mission community because there is more work to do and not so many to do it.” In answer to the question: “Why do you wish to become a religious?” she replied: “Because I wish to live more intimately with Our Lord.” It would seem that the next forty years of her life radiated a vision and commitment to those early ideals. The two letters of recommendation sent by the pastor and a curate of St. William’s Parish in Dorchester confirm our intuition that her articulated ideals were lived out in daily life. Rev. David J. Murphy wrote: “She is a young woman of excellent character and Christian virtue. Much of the time she is a daily communicant and helpful in Sunday school work”, and Fr. Mark H. Keohone in his letter states, “she is of sturdy character, clear mind and deeply spiritual.”

Sister’s first assignment after First Profession on June 30, 1937 was to Seattle, Washington to work among the Japanese people. It was there she made her Final Vows on June 30, 1940. That same year, Sister Rose Magdalen was assigned to Korea but because of unsettled conditions in the Orient her assignment was later altered to California where she dedicated her life and talents in the missions of Los Angeles and Guadalupe until 1946 when she went to Hawaii, covering a teaching assignment at Kaneohe and a principalship at Waialua until 1955. From 1955 to 1958, she was principal at St. Anthony’s in the Bronx. Finishing that term she headed for the Middle America Region where she was to spend the rest of her life giving herself happily and generously in Jacaltenango, Guatemala; Ancon and San Miguelito, Panama; Merida and finally Mexico City.

During all these pilgrim years in Mission for the Lord Jesus, there is a recurring set of variations on the two main themes of her entire life – her aspiration of intimacy with God and an enthusiastic response to the needs of people. Gifted with an optimistic personality and grounded in a sense of being called to preach the Good News of Salvation, she gave a personal witness of wholeness – a life, a ministry, a faith experience – which reached out and made God’s love seen, felt and heard by her sisters in community and by all the people whose lives she touched.

Yet this beautiful depth of generous love and selfless, gracious service manifested itself unobtrusively. One had to be very clever in devising ways or means of expressing gratitude or appreciation since Sister never expected nor desired recognition either of herself or of her good works. Her quiet and kindly humor quickly turned and returned compliments.

Most outstanding was her true and unwavering love of Blessed Mother as well as a deep loyalty to Maryknoll.

May she and all our deceased brothers and sisters remember us in our needs, just as we remember them in our prayers and in our celebrations.

We ask the Sisters in each local house to celebrate the Eucharist for Sister Rose Magdalen and to remember her and the members of her family in their prayers.