Sister Margaret Mary Byrnes, OP

Sister Margaret Mary celebrates 60 years of religious profession in 2020.

Sister Margaret Mary has ministered in a variety of ways throughout her 60 years of religious profession. The first 18 years were given to elementary education in parochial schools, then she embarked on seven years teaching religious education in two of the rural religious education centers the Springfield Dominicans staffed.

She also served as a director of religious education at parishes in northern Illinois before returning to the Springfield diocese as a pastoral associate. Six years as assistant service director for M.E.R.C.Y Communities, a support program for homeless women and their children, preceded an 8-year period of service as a bereavement minister at Ss. Peter and Paul, Cary, Ill.

Before returning to Sacred Heart Convent in 2018, where she works in the library and supports the spiritual life of the community through occasional preaching, she volunteered as a tutor at the Dominican Literacy Center in Aurora, Ill.

Sister Margaret Mary says she received such a strong message from God, telling her “I want you to become one of my own,” that she declined her boyfriend’s request for a steady relationship and joined the Dominican Sisters. “That message was so strong there were no more questions as to what I should do,” she said. “I learned that I was to let others know how much God loved them. Since I always knew that God loved me unconditionally. I knew that would not be hard to do.”

Sister Margaret Mary was born in Chicago to Thomas and Margaret Byrnes, who are deceased. She has three siblings: Anne Landrum and John Byrnes of Maitland, Fla.; and Thomas Byrnes, Clermont, Fla.

Sister Margaret Mary’s Ministry Assignments

1960-1964          Holy Rosary, Duluth, Minn., Grades 1 & 2
1964-1971          Holy Angels, Aurora, Ill., Grades 4-5
1971-1974          St. Charles Borromeo, Hampshire, Ill., Grades 4-5
1974-1975          Our Saviour, Jacksonville, Ill., Grade 6
1975-1978          St. Thomas, Newton, Ill., Principal, grades 7-8
1978-1982          Hillsboro Religious Ed Center, Hillsboro, Ill.. In charge
1982-1985          Arcola Religious Ed Center, Arcola, Ill., In charge
1985-1986          St Thomas, Crystal Lake, Ill., DRE
1986-1987          Ss Peter & Paul, Cary, Ill., DRE
1987-1994          St Joseph the Worker, Chatham, Ill., Pastoral associate
1994-1998          St Joseph, Bradley, Ill., Pastoral associate
1999-2000          St Mary, Marion, Wisc., Pastoral associate
2000-2006          M.E.R.C.Y. Communities, Springfield, Ill., Ast. service director
2006-2014          Ss Peter & Paul, Cary, Ill., Outreach minister
2014-2018          Dominican Literacy Center, Aurora, Ill., Tutor
2018-Present      Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., Library assistant


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