A Fond Farewell

by Sarah Baker, communications specialist

God always has a plan in mind when it comes to new opportunities for Peggy Maguire. And she is always happy to say “yes” to whatever the job may be. Fortunately, for the CSJ community, God led her to say “yes” to the role of director/co-director of association for the St. Louis province. With her love of the CSJ community and its mission, her impact of involving and working with others, and, most of all, her passion for the charism, she has been a great leader, shaping the association program to what it is today.

After 11 wonderful years, Peggy said “yes” once more to another opportunity: retirement. On June 30, Peggy gave a fond farewell to her position as director/co-director, a role she will forever hold dear to her heart.

While she was new to the role of director, Peggy was already familiar with the associate program. An associate herself, she was one of the first four members to join the association program in May 1974. Sister Suzanne Giblin, one of the co-founders of association, describes Peggy as an early risk taker in association and partnership as her insightful questions and commitment helped move the program forward. And when she was asked to “show up,” she did just that.

“Early on, I asked associates to ‘just show up’ so they, and the sisters, might get to know each other,” says S. Suzanne. “Peggy came to sectionals, assemblies, province events and projects, and she invited others to do the same. It was through those interactions that the CSJA meaning and identity began to evolve.”

Peggy continued to develop the program, increasing membership from 135 associates who had made commitments at the time she began in 2006 to the now 337 who have made their initial or ongoing commitments, with 25 in formation. And she attributes it all to the mission, the gospel and the strength in numbers of others.

“It’s really nothing I did,” says Peggy. “Growth is by God. My strength is involving other people—lots of sisters and associates. I just brought my love for the community.”

The program has also seen a huge growth with the development of its Associate Leadership Board, the annual congregational associate directors meeting, the annual assembly and the prayer partners program during Peggy’s tenure. What began as a half-day assembly has expanded to a full day in conjunction with the province assembly, sharing time with the sisters. This year marked an historic moment as associates, consociates, ‘Ohana and Familia de San José (ACOF) held their first-ever ACOF Convocation in St. Louis. And almost 200 sisters and associates partner with sister residents at Nazareth Living Center, calling and sending them cards.

“The success is not mine, but the associates themselves,” Peggy says. “I am in awe at the associates that are attracted to this community. We have these awesome people who come looking for ministry with the community when they are already doing so much.”

When asked what she will miss most, it’s the people—sisters, associates, and motherhouse staff and guests.

“I’ve been blessed with people I’ve worked with who share the same values and vision,” says Peggy. “I have a better understanding of all they do for the mission of Jesus.”

That goes the same for those who have worked with Peggy, including Associate Kay Komotos. Kay has served alongside Peggy for the past two years as co-director of association. While they may have been colleagues, Kay looks up to Peggy as a mentor.

“Her wisdom, focus and ability to analyze what was needed for any associate meetings, events or occasions was very important for me,” says Kay. “I also admire her humbleness. She puts the needs of others before her own, which I see as a sign of a true leader.”

Kay will continue to lead the association program as director.

What Peggy’s future plans will be, she is not yet sure. Though, she does hope to visit the sisters at Nazareth more, spend time with family and friends, perhaps join a book club and possibly do something with kids. But Peggy knows God has a plan and, whatever that may be, she will be happy to say “yes.”