Joyful, faith-filled life of Sr Margaret Chandler recalled

Sr Margaret Chandler rsj has been remembered as a woman of strong faith who joyfully lived life to the full.

Sr Marg was in her 84th year of life and 64th year of religious life when she died peacefully at Rosary Gardens, New Town, on 29 October.

The Victoria-Tasmania regional leader for the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Sue McGuinness, recalled Sr Marg’s fierce intelligence, innate kindness and varied ministry at her funeral at Sacred Heart Church, New Town, on 8 November.

Margaret Ann Chandler was born in Launceston, the daughter of Dave and Meg Chandler. She attended St Thomas More’s School, Newstead. Her aunt was also a Sister of St Joseph, Sr Berchmans.

She entered the Sisters of St Joseph novitiate in 1959 and was professed in January 1962.

Sr Marg was a teacher and principal, and served in the primary and secondary sectors. She taught at: Sacred Heart School, Ulverstone; St James School, Cygnet; St Thomas More’s School, Newstead; St Attracta’s School, Smithton; St Joseph’s School, Rosebery; Shaw College, Devonport; Sacred Heart School, Geeveston; and Sacred Heart College, New Town. She also looked after boarders at St Thomas More’s School in its final years as a boarding school.

Sr Marg then gained social work and spirituality leadership qualifications and ministered in social work (for both Centacare and government sectors), spiritual direction, adult faith formation, family ministry, professional supervision and retreats. For the past 22 years, Sr Marg was based at MacKillop Hill, Forth.

Sr Sue said that as a social worker, Sr Marg worked “in areas that were very much in harmony with Mary MacKillop’s desire that all her sisters were to serve the poor in their various circumstances”.

Sr Marg was a voracious reader, a lover of classical music and a lively conversationalist with deeply-held beliefs on a range of topics.

“One comment received since her death said, ‘She was such a life force. She will stir Heaven up’,” Sr Sue said.

“She would do the stirring with gusto, often accompanied by her infectious, very identifiable laugh.

“Marg had a strong desire to offer contemporary theological and spiritual nourishment to anyone and everyone and to facilitate retreat and renewal opportunities for people to continue their formation in faith.”

Sr Carmel Jones added: “Marg will be remembered by many for being an empathetic, understanding and kind friend and companion on their journey. She readily offered hospitality with graciousness and style. [She was] a woman of strong faith who joyfully lived life to the full with a sense of fun and laughter.”

Fr Mark Freeman was the principal celebrant at Sr Margaret’s funeral, which was followed by interment at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.

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