sister margaret cozzens
July 2, 1917 - May 15, 2010
Sister Margaret Cozzens, a beautiful, quiet, prayerful person, was born in St. Louis on July 2, 1917. She had two sisters and one brother. Her parents, Thomas and Margaret Braun Cozzens, lived in St. Cronin's parish, where Margaret was baptized. When the children were very young, both of their parents died. The siblings then went to live with an aunt and uncle and attended Holy Name grade school, where Margaret met the Sisters of St. Joseph.
After two years of public high school education, S. Margaret entered the community in the fall of 1934 at age 17 and received the habit and name S. Catherine Tekakwitha in March of 1935. She finished her high school education at Carondelet before being sent on mission. The first half of her active life, S. Margaret was an educator, both as teacher and as administrator. Many of her early days were spent at some distance: Mobile, Ala.; Denver, Colo.; and Augusta, Ga. Closer to her home found her in Kansas City, Raytown, and St. Joseph in Missouri as well as in St. Louis.
In community, S. Margaret was a down to earth, common sense person. She was especially helpful to younger members as they adjusted to community life and a new ministry. Deeply spiritual, S. Margaret displayed a peaceful demeanor, always showing respect, acceptance and support for others. As a superior, she was fair and kind, an open and progressive leader. At St. Louis in Englewood, Colo., for a change of pace, sometimes on Saturday nights she would arrange to have hamburgers from Burger King for the community, which all enjoyed while watching a favorite movie or TV show.
While S. Margaret was an excellent teacher liked by her students, she herself took little pleasure in teaching and found it difficult to live the daily routine with the students. From early on, S. Margaret had wanted to be a nurse but accepted her teaching assignments as decided by her superiors. That early desire, however, she never lost, so after finishing the school year at Holy Name in St. Louis in 1969, S. Margaret enrolled as a student in Kansas City University in Kansas City. In 1971 she earned a certificate as a licensed practical nurse. Afterwards, she nursed at Trinity Lutheran Hospital and at St. Mary's Hospital, both in Kansas City.
At the urging of S. Anne Ambrose Butkovich, S. Margaret took a position in 1974 with Cardinal Ritter Institute in St. Louis. In her gentle, caring and untiring manner, S. Margaret began serving the sick poor in their homes, something she had wanted to do for a long time and which drew her heart. After a sabbatical year in 1984, S. Margaret lived and ministered as a residential care manager at St. Elizabeth Hall, a Cardinal Ritter facility. This ministry endured for 14 years until she moved to Nazareth Living Center in 2000.
In retirement, S. Margaret accepted her increasing diminishments with grace, remaining cheerful and positive. Her presence and her ministry resonated with the indwelling presence of God's Spirit. She died as she lived, in complete obedience to God. May she rest in peace.
S. Rita Louise Huebner