Remembrances

Sister Marguerite Buchanan, Age 88

West Midwest

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sister Marguerite graduated from Holy Names High School in Oakland, California, then enrolled at St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in San Francisco. It was there that she met the Sisters of Mercy and entered the community in Burlingame in 1951, making her first profession in 1953 and receiving the religious name Sister Mary Marguerite.

Sister Marguerite had a curiosity and enthusiasm for people and for new ideas. “She often had a vision, and nothing stood in the way of that vision,” said her lifelong friend Sister Suzanne Toolan. “She accomplished so much because she was delegator of the whole world.”

Sister Marguerite completed her degree at USF and earned MA degrees in physics and educational administration. She began teaching science and religion at Mercy High School in San Francisco and then in Burlingame. She later served as principal and then development director at each of those schools.

Trained in spiritual direction with an MA in transpersonal psychology, she was on the staff of Mercy Center from 1985 to 2003. She and Sister Suzanne led the new Taizé program at Mercy, introduced by Sister Jean Evans, the first of its kind on the West Coast. The two then led centering prayer at San Quentin State Prison and the Federal Correctional Institution for Women. The prayer services opened their eyes to the need for support for women leaving prison and, in collaboration with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Sister Marguerite established Catherine’s Center in 2003. Throughout the rest of her life, Sister Marguerite continued to guide the center, a live-in program providing integrated services to post-incarcerated women. She gave spiritual direction on Zoom to one of the women shortly before her death.

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