Sister Daniel Margaret O’Connor died on November 17, 2019 and was buried at Saint Joseph Villa on November 21, 2019. Margaret Mary was one of six children who had her roots in Conshohocken, but she attended Transfiguration School and West Catholic High School. Since her sister, Rita, left for the convent when Margaret Mary was about ten years old, Margaret Mary felt she grew up with her four brothers. She attributed her vocation to an Immaculate Heart Sister who taught her in the seventh grade. Likewise, her own sister, S. Mary Audrey and the sisters she met at West Catholic nurtured her religious vocation. In 1948, Margaret Mary entered the community and began a life of adventures, story-telling, and laughter. Since S. Mary Audrey was eight years older than Margaret Mary, she used her older sister as a role model, and when Margaret Mary’s escapades surfaced she told her older sister in order to avoid chagrin from the older sibling.
While not necessarily a scholar herself, S. Daniel Margaret embraced teaching as her apostolate, and she moved through all of the elementary grades with grace and aplomb. S. Daniel claimed that teaching eighth grade was her most fulfilling ministry. Also, she served as a tutor, school secretary, and tuition secretary before coming to the Villa as a volunteer. S. Daniel became a resident of the Villa almost 20 years ago. During those years, she had a willing audience for her stories and enjoyed reading books either in her room or out on the patio. S. Daniel liked her routine, including the Saturday morning “breakfast club.” Likewise, her interests including cleaning, sewing, and cooking as well as changing the furniture in her Villa room. She was meticulous about many things from her personal appearance to her residence.
This simple, direct, “no frills,” sister embodied the words of our Constitution as a “…cordial and hospitable spirit, a willing heart ready for any and every good work, a quiet sense of hiddenness” ready to respond “…to the needs of the people of God.” Given her long list of health issues, S. Daniel probably never thought she would see her 90th birthday, but God had other plans, and Daniel was open to them.
Our Maxim 21 reminds us to “Desire neither praise nor reward for your good work in this life and you will have deeper and fuller life in eternity.” Daniel, may you enjoy a “deeper and fuller life” with your Savior and your God for all eternity.