Sister Rosemary McGuire has given herself wholeheartedly to every ministry to which she’s been called. First it was teaching primary grades at schools in the Chicago metro area, Peoria, and East Alton. “I loved that!” she said. When the community discovered she could teach math she moved to junior high and back to Springfield, her home town. She took on the math classes and helped transition the school into the computer age. “I loved that too because I was learning new things,” she said.
It’s sisters like Sister Rosemary and others living at Sacred Heart Convent who will benefit from your donation to our Christmas appeal this year. Your gift is the gift of good health for so many of our sisters! Thank you!
A New Age Group
When she no longer felt up to the task of full-time classroom teaching she became a teacher’s aide, and enjoyed that work very much, too.
“When I stopped being a teacher aide there was a little bit of a sense that was I stopping ministry,” she said. “That part was hard for me because I loved what I was doing.” With her usual can-do attitude, however, Sister Rosemary said she realized that when God closes one door he opens another one. That’s what happened. She realized leaving the classroom didn’t mean leaving ministry. “I was just ministering to a different age group,” she chuckled. “I was immediately given a job of assigning companions for sisters when they went to the doctor and that was necessary work.”
Not surprisingly, she said “I found that I really enjoyed my new ministry. Not only was I using my new computer skills but I was also getting to know the sisters better.”
Sister Rosemary is a prime example of the kind of care we are able to give our sisters with your help. We hire professional nursing staff to look after our sisters, but we, too, continue to look after each other in every way we are able. This is what community is about! It’s what makes Sacred Heart Convent our home, not just a nursing home. We are happy to care for one another and are grateful for your help, too!
Sister Rosemary has some lovely Christmas memories. “I think of my mother staying up late at night to make toys for us,” she said “[Mom] was a wonderful seamstress and she even made a three-dimensioinal Christmas village for the grandchildren that they’ve now passed on to their children,” she recalls with pride.
Most of her favorite carols are those she sang as a child and taught her students over the years, Silent Night, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, among them. But, she says she does have one favorite song you might not expect. “It’s All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” she admitted. “That came out just about the time I lost my two front teeth. I told myself ‘That’s all I want for Christmas, that record.'" Before the end of Christmas Day, she’d already accidentally broken the record, but she still recalls with joy the excitement of finding it under the tree.
A Christmas Pageant
“One of the things I did as a primary teacher was get the children ready every year for a pageant. It wasn’t a big deal; they just went into church and did the Christmas story,” she said. But when she began teaching junior high school, she found herself missing the annual ritual and volunteered her students to get involved. One year, the students decided they wanted a real baby Jesus and the boy who was cast as St. Joseph volunteered his baby sister. When the night came, Sister Rosemary found herself sitting with the baby’s mother who was “nervous as could be” she recalled.
The expected happened, of course; baby Jesus started crying. St. Joseph came to the rescue, nonchalantly walking over to his little sister in the Christmas crib, picking her up, and rocking her in his arms. “The congregation gave a collective sigh,” Sister Rosemary remembers. It led her to a reflection on the role of St. Joseph in the Christmas story.
Not without YOU
“People forget about St. Joseph but he rescued Jesus many times,” she said. “More than once in the Bible and he comforted Jesus. Then I thought about our mission. People think we are doing the mission. It’s not just us. It’s about our partners also. You are doing our mission.
“People don’t always know it but we can’t do it without you. I’m convinced of that. And I’m convinced our mission will not continue now or in the future without your help. We need partners. Thank you so much. I know that I really appreciate it.
Sister Rosemary has it right: Without your kindness and generosity our mission of education, healing, and witness to God’s love in the world won’t continue for long. Thank you for your kindness.
This Christmas, we are highlighting a few of our retired sisters. Visit our Good Tidings page to see interviews with Sisters Gabriella Luebbers and Agnes Ann Pisel.