Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 11, 2009
Precious Blood sister suffered decades without complaint
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Decades of suffering ended for Sister Margaret Mary Arnold when she died April 29.
The formation director of Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, Sister Mary Margaret contacted rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease at age eight. Her mother called her youngest daughter “my little grandmother” because she was in so much pain.
But never a word of complaint passed this daughter of God’s lips.
“She was a clown, a jolly one,” says Sister Resurrecion. “She offered her pain to God.”
Born to a farming family in Prelate, Sask., Sister Margaret Mary had six brothers and two older sisters. Her sisters joined the Ursulines.
Margaret Mary finished her Grade 12, worked as family caregiver, and then journeyed to Edmonton to begin 56 years of religious life.
She became a cloistered sister in the 1980s, taking the position of formation director, a post she held until her death.
Sister Teodosia took her formation from Sister Margaret Mary and says she “was motherly, had a big, big heart and was very generous and understanding.”
Another nun, Sister Resurrecion, tells of Sister Margaret Mary’s humorous side, noting she would say, “My body is Canadian but my tummy is Asian.”
“She loved Filipino food,” says Sister Resurrecion.
She too witnessed her formation director’s physical suffering. Heart valve surgery 11 years ago put her into a wheelchair. “She’d just say, ‘God gives me this, so I will accept it.’ I love her and I will miss her.”
Sister Shirley Blanchette, superior of the community, said she gave “120 per cent to her community. No matter what was asked of her, she would do it.”
Sister Margaret Mary died April 29, the feast day of her order’s patron saint, Catherine of Siena. Her 82nd birthday would have been May 3, a celebration, says Sister Shirley, “she had in heaven.”
She wanted to die in the chapel, says Sister Shirley, but Sister Margaret Mary drew her last breath in the Misericordia Hospital.
The sisters honoured her wishes and placed her body for two days in their chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament before her burial May 4 in St. Joachim Cemetery. Archbishop Richard Smith celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial.
Sister Margaret Mary’s death was a peaceful one.
“She’ll be singing with the angels and praying for us all,” says Sister Teodosia, and she shares the last words Sister Margaret Mary uttered to her sisters surrounding her hospital bed. “I will work hard up there. I love you all.”