2014 Jubilarian – Margaret (Margarita) Schmidt

Schmidt,MargaretSister Margaret (Peggy) Schmidt grew up in Des Plaines, Ill., and attended St. Patrick Academy. She was introduced to the IHM Sisters at the Summer School of Catholic Action in Chicago.

The Mercy Sisters taught her in high school.  After working several years to earn money for college, she attended Marygrove College and completed her bachelor’s degree in economics.

She joined the IHM congregation after graduation. Joining was, for Sister Peggy, “the fullest response to God.  I felt like I was being invited by God. It was more than just a voice – it was a strong intuition. ” She desired to encourage others in their relationship with God.

Sister Peggy ministered in the Reading Clinic while she was a postulant, and as a novice and first year scholastic, taught at St. Mary Academy. Then she taught at Marian High School. She moved back to the Chicago area because of her ailing father and taught at Immaculate Heart of Mary High School in Westchester, Ill. After a year, she attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she received a Master of Arts in religious education.

Sister Peggy then headed back to Marian, first as a teacher and then as assistant principal. This was post-Vatican II, and she loved the changes.

“We were ready for this,” she notes. “We were there to be with people, not to be apart or on a pedestal. Our habits had signaled so clearly a separate kind of lifestyle.”

After Marian, Sister Peggy ministered in the IHM Social Justice Office and became involved with the women’s movement and the first meetings about women’s ordination.  This was followed by ministry at the Archdiocese of Detroit as an assistant Vicar for Parishes to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.  She worked with parish councils and the formation of parish leadership.

From there she served in Madison, Wis., as the director of diocesan education. During a   sabbatical in Toronto, she attended the Spiritual Integration Program while completing a master’s degree in theology. She also took courses to become a spiritual director and participated in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises Institute in Guelph, Ontario.

“We know our own experience of God,” she says. “Spiritual direction invites people to pay attention and to listen.”

She served as spiritual director at Colombiere in Clarkston, Mich., before ministering as director  of formation at parishes in Aurora, Ill., and Milwaukee. She then became the coordinator of the Visitation House of Prayer for the next nine years. After a sabbatical year, she continued to direct retreats and co-developed the IHM Events Planning office.

Sister Peggy’s greatest joy since joining the community is “the ongoing sense of life. The richness of always being open to what’s happening and where is God moving.” She is “ever grateful for the opportunities, the care and support within community for the continuing unfolding of herself.”