Sr. Margaret Mary Donlon, fmm
Margaret Mary Donlon was born in Philadelphia on February 16, 1927, a fact that she liked to joke about, saying that all famous Americans were born in February...Washington, Lincoln and herself. After several years working experience as a secretary, Margaret entered Fruit Hill, one of a group of 12, on September 18, 1951.
Raised in a Jesuit parish, she has always been grateful for their influence as well as that of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on her early Education. In fact, she said she was a postulant of three days before discovering that the Saint Francis being talked about so much was that of Assisi Instead of Francis Xavier, whom she greatly admired! Margaret wanted a missionary order, and her first visit to Fruit Hill convinced her that the FMM vocation of adorer and missionary would fulfill her deepest longings.
A few months after first profession, Margaret was sent to Bell Street, where she learned to put the Montessori Method into practice, also teaching CCD at Mount Carmel Parish.
In January of 1956 came the electrifying news for which she had hoped and prayed; the call to Rome and the missions. With the group of six who left on the S.S. Independence in February, Margaret spent five months in Rome, preparing for her mission and visiting the holy places. She was especially impressed with St. Peter's, and found her greatest joy in the Carceri of Assisi, understanding why visitors who came did not want to leave. The whole month of August was spent on the ship going to Yokohama, then to Kobe, where Sister taught the fifth and sixth grades in the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary International School. Sister Margaret made her Final Vows at the Japanese Novitiate at Totsuka on March 19, 1957. The next year on June 26th, with ten other foundresses, she sailed for Pusan, the first FMM house in Korea. There she gasped at the unbelievable poverty of the two million refugees who had fled from the Communists in the North. While tackling the problem of the difficult Korean language, Sister first helped in the pharmacy of the busy clinic, was assistant of the house, helped in the school office and then, when our Korean Novitiate opened in 1962, was named Directress of Novices. Eleven years later, one of the first novices succeeded her in this work and Sister was coordinator, first at Seoul and later in Pusan. An operation for retinal detachment at this time put a temporary end to the translation work which she had been doing since the Novitiate started. After a year of rest, renewal, home visits, vocational visits in schools and working in the provincial Communications office of the US Province, Margaret eagerly returned to her beloved Korea in April, 1976, where she tries to "serve as a living witness to the love, joy and peace of Jesus". Sister is proud of the fact that one of her first novices served as provincial of Korea, and another, on return from her studies, continued as Novice Directress.
Sister was thrilled to participate in the Beatification Ceremony in Rome of our Foundress, Blessed Mary of the Passion in 2002. She is now a member of the Novitiate community, where her present ministry is teaching English to the seven Korean novices, as well as continuing translation work and secretarial services.