2014 Jubilarian – Marjorie (Ann Gregory) McFarland
Sister Marjorie McFarland’s mother, a professional teacher, and her uncle, an artist, were great influences in her life. Her mother was able to answer any questions she had, which Sister Marge says “moved me toward the field of education.” And on Saturdays while she was growing up, her uncle gave her art lessons.
With the influence of the IHM Sisters who taught her and the friends who joined the community, Sister Marge says it felt natural to become an IHM. She “was drawn to the idealism of God and spirituality of the community. The idealism was also working with people.”
Her IHM role models influenced Sister Marge’s spiritually. “Their depth of knowledge was a very big part of it.” Reflecting now as a mature woman, Sister Marge has no regrets about her choice to join the community versus marriage and having children. “I had children,” she laughs, “just not the conventional way.”
Sister Marge was the oldest of four (her sister joined the IHMs later; one brother died and one brother married and had a family), and her decision to join the community initially broke her mother’s heart. “My sister told me that for the first six months I was gone our mother put a towel on the pillow before she went to bed because she was crying.” The limited visitation that was allowed was difficult for her family.
Initially reluctant to make her vows, Sister Marge confessed her concerns to Mother Teresa McGivney. Mother Teresa’s grace and kindness assured her that the community wanted her. “It was Mother Teresa’s welcoming me that made me think, ‘well maybe that’s what God wants.’ Mother Teresa put her hand out to me. I can remember shaking it; I had a changed feeling at that moment.”
Mother Teresa’s gesture demonstrated the spirit of the community and provided the opportunity for Sister Marge to make her vows with great peace, and she enjoyed a long career teaching junior high and high school. After studying at many universities around the world and completing advanced degrees, she ministered in pastoral care.
She enjoys the camaraderie of the IHM community and being with fun and interesting people. She has a great sense of humor, which was invaluable during her travels. Sister Marge received a grant to study in Greece and was in Athens when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. She and several of her friends looked up and saw the moon and the Acropolis at the same time. It was a moving experience to be in the heart of western civilization at the time of this monumental event. She continued taking classes in French and Latin in Dijon, France, and in other European cities.
Being part of a community, surrounded by outstanding people who have principles she admires, has been one of Sister Marge’s greatest joy. She has enjoyed the influence of very powerful women in her life and appreciates the interesting life she has had since she joined the community.