Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 30, 2008
Two sisters celebrate 50th anniversaries of religious life
- photo supplied
Srs. Margaret MacLean and Margaret Coyle were honoured on their 50th anniversary.
Special to the WCR
Saint John, N.B.
Sisters Margaret MacLean and Margaret Coyle recently celebrated their 50th anniversaries of religious life with Mass and a reception here.
Their combined century of service as Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) includes years of ministry in the Edmonton Archdiocese.
Both were educated by the SCIC in Saint John, where the community was founded in 1854 to serve poor Irish immigrants and orphans.
MacLean served both in Canada and Peru. She moved to Edmonton in 2001 and is a chaplain at the Edmonton Institution for Women. In the federal prison, she said she encourages women to unlock their hidden spirituality.
Recently, she completed the two-year Presence Program at Providence Renewal Centre to accompany others in the ministry of spiritual direction.
During the 1980s, she served in pastoral ministry at St. Anthony's Parish in Lloydminster. There, she felt drawn to the honesty of people in Alcoholics Anonymous. Her interest led to studies in the field of addictions at Hazelden graduate school near St. Paul, Minn.
After completing Hazelden's chaplaincy in the field of addictions program, she became an addictions counsellor at the Thorpe Recovery Centre in Lloydminster and later at the Smith Clinic in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Back in Saint John, MacLean worked in the settlement services program among immigrants and refugees at the YM-YWCA.
Earlier, after teaching elementary school in Saint John, she became one of the first members of her religious community to serve in Peru in the late 1960s. Encountering extreme poverty as well as deep faith, she learned Spanish and worked in a small, mostly rural parish south of the capital, Lima.
Sister Coyle has served in eastern, western and northern Canada. She is in the middle of a second, four-year term on the SCIC leadership team and also serves as congregational treasurer.
From 1992 to 2002, she served as chancellor of the Diocese of Whitehorse. Those sometimes challenging years were marked by the tragic death of Whitehorse Bishop Thomas Lobsinger, an experienced pilot who died when the plane he was flying crashed on April 15, 2000.
Before going North, Coyle served two years in pastoral ministry at St. Anthony's Parish in Lloydminster and then earned a degree in canon law from Saint Paul University in Ottawa.
Canon law expert
In Edmonton, she taught an introductory course in canon law at Newman Theological College and served on the Alberta Regional Tribunal.
Coyle is a former member of the executive committee of the Canadian Canon Law Society which meets in Ottawa. She also contributed to a 1993 commentary on canon law for laity.
After entering the SCIC, Coyle taught elementary school for a total of 17 years in Saint John, Edmonton, Vancouver and Farrellton, Quebec. In Edmonton, she taught at St. Gerard and St. Alphonsus schools in the 1970s.
During celebrations on June 22 in Saint John, MacLean and Coyle were joined by two other SCIC who were also celebrating 50th anniversaries.
Sister Muriel Buckley serves in Cajamarca in the Peruvian Andes. She has served in various regions of Peru for 40 years. Sister Rosemary Costley taught in Saint John and Venosta, Que. and at Sacred Heart School in Wetaskiwin, from 1972-76. She now does volunteer work in Saint John.