Sister Mary Hugh McGowen, baptized Phoebe, was born in Juneau, Alaska. She entered the Benedictine Sisters (O.S.B.), Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota in 1958 and was received into the novitiate in 1959. She made her final vows as a Sister of St. Joseph in 1995. She received a bachelor’s degree in art from Mount Marty College in South Dakota in 1966 and a master’s in education, secondary counseling/guidance, from the South Dakota State University in 1973.
Sister Mary Hugh began her years of ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph in 1998 as a home service provider for CSJ Care until 2004. During that time, she also served at Nazareth Living Center as a pastoral care assistant until 2004 as well. She then moved to her home state of Alaska and was a caregiver for assisted living at KNIK Manor in Wasilla for seven years.
She retired in 2012. In 2015, Sister Mary returned to St. Louis and served as a volunteer. Since 2018, she has resided at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis where she continues to minister in prayer and presence.