Sister Margaret Siegfried died December 11, 2018 at Saint Joseph Villa where she had resided for sixteen years. Her Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated December 18, 2018 in the Villa Chapel where relatives, friends and her sisters in community rejoiced in celebrating Maggie, whose life was a testimony of loving, selfless giving to others.
Born November 11, 1946, Margaret Karen Siegfried , fondly known to her family as Peg, was the eldest sister to Nancy, Mary, Jane, Barbara and Roy. Their parents, John and Bernadette Siegfried, reared their children in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where the family frequently gathered to engage in craft activities that enhanced their innate gifts to do for others. Throughout her religious life it was Maggie’s mainstay to be mindful of the poor and to serve them kindly in their many needs.
Educated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Saint Anne School in Bethlehem and Notre Dame School in Easton, Maggie embraced wholeheartedly the call of her Precious Lord and entered the Congregation September 12, 1964. She received the habit April 19, 1965 when she was given the name Sister John Dismas. Thus began her dedicated years in varied ministries as teacher and servant of the poor in the archdioceses of Newark and Philadelphia. A people person and gifted artist, Maggie loved painting, drawing, crafting and singing. She shared these assets with many and especially with frail and elderly persons at both Immaculate Mary and Neumann Nursing Homes. Saint Joseph Villa residents enjoyed her crafting sessions as well. She enriched their lives with color, activities, music and holiday entertainment that included fetching costumes and skits.
How succinctly did a pastor of the Gesu Parish capture Maggie’s essence when he wrote: “Your great love and care for people is so obvious in all you do and there is no doubt that the people love you deeply.”
Perhaps most significant of all Maggie’s gifts was her praise of God in song. Long after completing her service to the people of Precious Blood Church in North Philadelphia, parishioners would recall: “No one sings Precious Lord like Sister John Dismas.”
Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m alone.
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the Light.
Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.
In her declining years at the Villa, Maggie and her faithful friend Sister Joan Bannigan would view the televised funerals of sisters. Together they sang every hymn aloud.
Maggie’s Precious Lord did indeed lead her home on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, With her hand in His, He led her to the eternal Light of His love and peace.