sister rose margaret schweers

February 18, 1911 - August 31, 2009
Mary Margaret was born on February 18, 1911, in Augusta, GA, the youngest of nine children. Her family was a joyful, happy one and "Peg," as she was called, enjoyed the attention of being "the baby." Peg attended Mt. St. Joseph Academy in Augusta where her considerable athletic skills in track, basketball and swimming shone brilliantly in the many medals and blue ribbons she won. Although she was quiet, even shy as a young girl, Peg acquired the soft charm and manners of a truly gentle woman.

After graduation from "the Mount" as the Augusta Academy was called, Peg began a ten year career in the financial office of the local J.C. Penny department store where she learned the intricacies of finance and advanced steadily in the field she was later to put to good use.

However, in 1939, Peg's life took a new direction when she entered the novitiate of the Georgia Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Augusta. She received the habit on March 19, 1940, along with her religious name of S. Rose Margaret.  In spite of her business expertise, she earned a bachelor's degree in history from the college of St. Catherine in St. Paul and did graduate work in education at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

S. Rose Margaret's early years in community found her teaching elementary school in Atlanta where she taught all the grades except second. Her next mission was to Valdosta, Georgia where she served as superior at the convent and principal of St. John the Evangelist School.

In 1952, when St. Joseph Hospital opened in Augusta, S. Rose Margaret's life once more took a new turn when she was appointed manager of financial matters. In 1966 she was missioned to St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood, MO as Chief Financial Manager and Assistant Administrator. 

On her return to Augusta, S. Rose Margaret once more devoted her time and vibrant energy to her beloved Augusta Hospital. There she served as public relations director, historian, and foundation representative. Her research produced her book titled Extending the Work of Christ: A History of St. Joseph Hospital 1945- 1989. She was respected and loved by the doctors, nurses, staff and the patients she visited. In addition, she earned the esteem of those she met in the many professional organizations of which she was a member. S. Rose Margaret was elected President of the Georgia Hospital Financial Managers Association in 1965. 

But the person I would like to describe to you, the Sister of St. Joseph I knew, was a deeply committed religious with a sharp wit, an engaging sense of humor and a faith that could move mountains. She and I went on several summer trips together were I experienced the "fun side" of S. Rose Margaret.  She never complained about delays, hauling our own baggage or last minute accommodations, but instead would joke about our inconveniences. In Dublin we had to walk from a train station to our B&B as no transportation of any kind was in either hope or sight, dragging our wheeled baggage behind us. Of course, we got lost, but that was not unusual!

After Vatican II, S. Rose Margaret found the changing community structures difficult. Her beautiful devotion to the Sacred Heart and her trust in God gave her the strength to cope with house committees, modified dress, personal budgets, shared automobiles and flexible schedules. She did all of this with outward grace and aplomb. Her deep love of God, her community and sense of mission enabled her to accept the new structures and find the joy that accompanies the presence of joy in one's life. 

S. Rose Margaret will be long remembered, both in her beloved south and in her retirement years at Nazareth. May she rest in the Heart of God.

Laura Ann Grady, CSJ

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