2019 Jubilarian – Margaret (Kathleen Marie) Sweeney
Sister Margaret Sweeney’s connection to the IHM community began early. She was the second of six children born to Marie Allen and Robert Emmett Sweeney. She was named Margaret Mary after one of her father’s favorite teachers, and her parents purchased their home in Christ the King parish so their children would be educated by IHMs!
Margaret (Marge to most of her IHM friends) grew up feeling a very personal connection with a loving God. Many happy and some very sad childhood experiences deepened this conviction.
Although her older sister, Marie, joined the IHM community while Margaret was in high school, she did not believe this was her calling. However, a one-day retreat that Sister Donna Hart invited her to attend changed her mind! She believed she was being called to be a sister. Confident God would make it clear if she was wrong, she entered the IHMs in 1958.
After graduating from Marygrove College, Margaret was sent to teach first grade at St. Bede School in Southfield. With Sister Anne Marie Hughes as principal and superior, being part of this new parish and school was a positive and beautiful experience.
She was then missioned to St. Cecilia in Detroit – a ministry she loved so much she stayed for 41 years! She loved being in “her” city. When she arrived at St. Cecilia in the mid-60s, it was a first -12th grade school in a rapidly changing neighborhood. While her primary focus was teaching in the elementary school, she enjoyed interacting with the high school students, the parents and the parishioners – all of whom were dealing with many racial tensions. What she found most life-giving was the leadership in the parish that recognized the need to be a welcoming presence in the neighborhood community and an active advocate for change in our Church, our schools and our city.
Margaret taught several grade levels before serving as principal for nearly 30 years. She credits the school’s success to an involved and supportive pastor, a dedicated and committed staff and parents who believed in the school’s mission.
Margaret left her ministry at St. Cecilia in 2006 when she was elected to the IHM Leadership Council, where she served for six years with a group she calls diverse and amazing. The friendships she made during this time and the deeper connections with the sisters in the community were very enriching and great gifts.
After her time in Leadership, she took Clinical Pastoral Education courses at Beaumont Hospital. Currently, she serves on the Pastoral Care staff of IHM Senior Living Community in Monroe.
Margaret has loved the ministries where she has been privileged to serve, and is very grateful for the friends she has made on this journey. She appreciates the freedom provided by her community to serve the people of God as she felt called. She is proud to be a part of a group that has embraced the liberating mission of Jesus in so many ministries throughout the world.