Sister Margaret Michel Lynch, CSJ
Margaret Michel was born to Margaret Mary Murphy and Michael Lynch in 1928 in the area known as Sunset Park in Brooklyn where St. Michael’s was her home parish. She grew up with her brother, George, and many cousins ~ some of whom also entered the community so they were lifelong friends as well as relatives, like Noraleen Murphy, and Margaret Murphy who is here with us today.
Margaret loved the little ones and taught them for 26 years in Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk parishes. She touched the lives of so many both in the school and the Religious Education programs. When her health began to present questions, she served as a clerical assistant before she began her fulltime ministry of suffering in Maria Regina.
Records show that Margaret was admitted to Maria Regina in July 1981 ~ 41 years ago. Her ultimate diagnosis was MS but as the disease progressed, Margaret, who was a perfectionist in all she did (Margaret Murphy told me she had made her profession habit and ripped it out three times to make sure the pleats were just right) ~ anyway, this Margaret was soon called tobe dependent on others for all she needed done ~ this had to be hard. And how did Margaret Michel react?
I had the privilege of talking with various nurses, aides and staff and with Pastoral Care who cared for Margaret Michel. They were unanimous in the words they used ~ uncomplaining and cooperative. One said that she could be playful and feisty at times but she always let them know how grateful she was for what they did for her. They said a peace and tranquility emanated from her. Even to the end she enjoyed being with people. The aides would bring her to the porch so she could be part of community even if it was just by observing the activity around her. What was her secret? Prayer
When her cousin, Noraleen, was still alive and living a few doors down from her on 2 West, Noraleen would go into Margaret Michel’s room each afternoon and they would pray the Rosary together. The spirit of prayer never left her. It was her strength as she lived a life ‘trapped in her own body with no chance of getting better’ ~ as her cousin, Margaret, said.
It was what surrounded her as she died with S. Agnes White and the National Guard person praying for her. It was the source of her strength during her years of illness and suffering so that ultimately S. Liz Looney could sum it up simply ~
“She’s a Saint. She had to walk right into heaven!” And so, for her and with her, we rejoice and say with Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Alleluia!
Sister Margaret Michel Lynch, CSJ died on May 13, 2022, in the 76th year of her religious life.