SR.MARGARET MARY (1876-1947)
Sr. Margaret Mary was from Madras, the daughter of an officer in the British garrison at fort St. George.. She was a companion of M. Teresa’s younger sister, Ann, in the novitiate and hence was a member of the founding community. In appearance she was thin, tall and fair complexioned. She had a low but very distinct voice. She was very particular about good manners, cleanliness and neatness. In a word, she was ‘a lady’. When she noticed things which displeased her, she would have such a pained look on her face that the erring person would realise it at once.
Being a member of the founding community we have an idea of the work she had to do in her younger days. Mother Teresa mentions that the children who came to them were “innocent of cleanliness” and that every morning the sisters had to go around seeing to the clearing up the “business of the night”. But trained by a superior who did these things herself and who talked about building up God’s kingdom and confidently remarked that “the company of the sisters does more for the children than formal education”, it is not surprising that Sr. Margaret Mary’s contemporaries remarked that she loved the poor children and was very kind to them. Her chronicler remarks that “though Mother had two or three girls to help her in the free boarding, she would do things herself.”
Even in the school they had been trained to do things perfectly, bearing in mind their mission. As a result, even later, the sisters noticed how she taught the little children to do drill, and other out-door performances with such precision and perfection. She was also good at painting church vestments and other items.
On the death of Mother Teresa, Mother Margaret Mary was appointed superior. We have a glimpse of her from her letters to Fr. Alphonse. Firstly we note her great respect and love for M. Teresa and her desire to continue the work that Mother had begun. But she does not reveal any special dynamism and creativity. Perhaps the shock of losing their leader so unexpectedly left all of them bereft and unsure of themselves.
When M. Veronica was appointed Superior, Sr. Margaret Mary was transferred to St. Antony’s convent,(Mattom) where there was an orphanage She cared for the children with the same concern as earlier, but things had changed .Life was very different and Mother was now growing old..Unfortunately the physical arrangements were very badly organised. The sisters’ meals were sent from St. Teresa’s and the orphan children were expected to carry it. The result was that often the meals were late or even worse, forgotten or spilt etc. The poor sisters, there were three of them, had a very difficult time. They bore it all with patience.
Mother Margaret Mary died at St. Antony’s, at the age of 71.