Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletSeptember 24, 2017

Sisters' Stories

Sister Rose Margaret Noonan, CSJ (from The Catholic Sun)


by Claudia Mathis, Staff Writer, The Catholic Sun

Sister Rose Margaret Noonan, 92, was born in Glens Falls and attended schools in Troy where she graduated from Catholic Central High School. She went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from The College of Saint Rose in Albany.
 
Bishop Thomas Costello of Syracuse remembers Sister Rose Margaret as his seventh grade teacher at St. Aloysius Academy in Rome in 1941 and then later during his high school years. She was very popular,” recalled Bishop Costello. “She was assigned to the school along with other Sisters of St. Joseph and she was an inspiration to them.”
 
Sister Rose Margaret explained how she was called to serve as a religious. “It was strange because I never wanted to serve as a sister,” said Sister Rose Margaret. “I saw my mother’s beautiful marriage and that’s what I wanted to do—get married and have children.”
 
Sister Rose Margaret said she felt called to serve when she was a senior in high school. She said she attended a retreat at which a priest talked about vocations. “During the retreat, we prayed the prayer of the blind man—“Lord, that I may see,” Sister Rose Margaret remembered. “The minute I said that prayer, I was convinced that it was a message from God.”
 
Before Sister Rose Margaret began to serve as assistant provincial superior of the Albany Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1970, she worked in what was then called the Inner-City Office of the Syracuse Diocese. She visited the jail and served as a spokesperson for the people in the courts who had difficulty speaking English.
 
Sister Rose Margaret also served as chaplain to Family Court. “I loved dealing with the kids,” she said. “It was hard to leave. Some that I have helped have turned out to be wonderful people.”
 
From 1977 to 1993, Sister Rose Margaret served as parish minister at St. Mary’s Parish in Binghamton. She also served as pastoral assistant at St. James Parish in Johnson City until 2005. Sister Rose Margaret now volunteers at St. James, teaching Scripture classes and occasionally delivering a reflection. Her words at Thanksgiving garnered a standing ovation. She spoke about her belief that women are perfectly capable and equipped to serve as priests!
 
“Sister Rose Margaret’s work in the Southern Tier has been awesome,” said Bishop Costello. “She’s been a tremendous model and a great help to the people.”
 
Sister Rose Margaret has found her life as a religious to be intensely gratifying. “It’s been a wonderful, wonderful life,” she said. “I feel a deep satisfaction in helping people and making their lives easier. I have also received tremendous support from all the friends I’ve made.”