Then and Now

Sister Margaret Chapman grew up in Jackson, Mich., the oldest of eight. She was taught by both IHM and Adrian Dominican Sisters through 12 years of Catholic school, beginning and ending with IHMs at St. John, Jackson.

At an early age Sister Margaret can remember visiting her aunt, Sister Mary George Chapman who was teaching in Ionia, Mich. “I remember the fun things … the ice cream, cookies, running around that big old house. Also, my dad would take me down to the convent at St. John when she would come home for her annual visit.”

During high school, Sister Margaret kept up with the changes of the 1960s, which included Vatican II. “Everything about Vatican II was exciting,” she recalls. She enjoyed attending high school retreats and being a member of the Young Christian Student (YCS) organization. “There was a lot of push toward service and justice. It was Kennedy and John XXIII – the perfect synergy,” she observes. Many of her IHM teachers were YCS moderators and were instrumental in teaching and encouraging social involvement. During the summer of 1965, between her junior and senior years in high school, she volunteered in Greenwood, Miss., during a racially tense time.

The desire to care for others and wanting to make a difference drew Sister Margaret to join the community in 1966, right after high school graduation. She saw religious life as a way of permanently living a life of service.

Sister Margaret embraced being with a group of women who shared her values. She started her ministerial life in pastoral ministry at St. Boniface Parish in Detroit. She then worked as a hospital chaplain at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., before going to St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ont., for a master’s degree in pastoral counseling. After completing her degree, she worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, before returning to parish ministry in Sydney, Mont. She was then asked by IHM Leadership to serve in vocation and formation ministry.

Following vocation/formation ministry and a brief time working as an assistant manager at the HUD properties on the Marygrove campus in Detroit, Sister Margaret was asked to lead the IHM Development office. During her tenure as Development director, the capital campaign for the renovation of the Motherhouse was undertaken. During this time, the Royal Blue Classic golf outing was initiated as well. In 2020, the Royal Blue Classic will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. After another brief interlude at the end of her work in development, Sister Margaret was again invited by IHM Leadership to initiate a new ministry for IHMs, guardianship for adults with physical or mental challenges, which is now known as Compassionate Companions, Inc. serving clients in Monroe and Wayne Counties. Currently, Sister Margaret serves on the 2018-2024 Leadership Council as the treasurer.

Sister Margaret’s greatest joy has been “sharing life with a group of women who wanted to make a difference in the world and were not afraid to take risks. I can’t imagine I would have had the same opportunities to fulfill that desire had I not been an IHM.”

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