Sister Margaret Mary   

Sister Margaret Mary                                 ND 5240                            PDF Download

(formerly Sister Mary John Patrick)

Margaret Mary FRIEL

Immaculate Conception Province, USA

Date and Place of Birth:              May 17, 1937         Cleveland, Ohio
Date and Place of Profession:    August 16, 1958    Cleveland, Ohio
Date and Place of Death:            July 23, 2022         Health Care Center, Chardon, Ohio
Date and Place of Burial:            July 29, 2022         Resurrection Cemetery, Chardon, Ohio

“May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Margaret and her younger brother, Patrick, born to Patrick and Delia (Henderson) Friel, grew up in a home where strong and lasting family bonds were nurtured along with a deep faith and trust in God’s providence. They celebrated, appreciated and were proud of their Irish heritage – it was an integral part of their lives. Margaret was taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame for all of her elementary and high school years. With the encouragement of her parents and the guidance of the sisters, she was led to hear and accept God’s call to religious life. She entered as a postulant on February 2, 1956, and at investment received the name Sister Mary John Patrick.

Sister Margaret Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in education from St. John College in Cleveland and a master’s degree in religious education from Notre Dame Institute in Middleburg, Virginia. Most of her educational ministry – more than 60 years – was with primary grade and preschool children. Sister was a master teacher, loving each of the little ones entrusted to her care, and she always found ways to keep them interested, stimulated and excited about learning.  “They bring me closer to God through their simplicity, innocence, wonder and awe.” Time was devoted not only to subjects to learn, but also to a world-view that broadened their experience and planted seeds of peace and justice. Her delight and interaction with the children renewed her boundless energy each day.

Sister’s outgoing personality and interest in people, especially little ones, were gifts she shared as director or assistant director at The Early Childhood Learning Center in North Carolina, at St. Basil Campus in Cleveland and Notre Dame Elementary Preschool in Chardon. She was especially proud of the program she created in North Carolina called The Learning Express. Staff, parents and children were blessed with her presence.

After several years as tutor at Notre Dame Skills Lab and the Legacy Project, Sister Margaret assisted with activities in our Health Care Center and, for the past six years, in the Mission Advancement Office. She established and maintained a personal connection with hundreds of donors through calls and birthday cards. Her interest in the environment and social justice reflected joyful hope. Sister’s brightness, light-heartedness and Irish wit were part of her personality but also part of her personal mission to reflect and to see Jesus in all each day.

Sister Margaret Mary’s love for Jesus was simple, intimate and powerful. Throughout her life’s journey, the joy and love of God shone through her. “Marg” (as she was affectionately known) was blessed with precious, loyal friends and family who recognized that love in her. May she know the embrace of our good and loving God.