Obituary

 

Sister Margaret Mary Caulson, IHM

Sister Margaret Mary Caulson, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Mary Ronan) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at Our Lady of Peace Residence, Scranton.

She was born on February 22, 1942, in Dunmore, PA. She was the daughter of the late Frank and Mary McClymer Caulson. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1959, and made her temporary profession of vows on June 27, 1962, and her final profession of vows on June 27, 1967.

Sister Margaret Mary served as a teacher at the following schools: Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1964 to 1969; Marywood Seminary High School in Scranton, PA, from 1969 to 1970; St. Patrick Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1972 to 1973; St. Rose Elementary School in Carbondale, PA, from 1973 to 1975; Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1975 to 1977; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1977 to 1980; and St. Mary Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1980 to 1988.

She also served as Director of Junior Sisters for the IHM Congregation in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1974; live-in staff support at Samaritan House in Brooklyn, NY, from 1985 to 1987; parish minister at St. Ann Parish in Brentwood, NY, from 1989 to 1991; pastoral counselor for religious education at Good Shepherd Parish in Holbrook, NY, from 1991 to 1999; night manager and live-in support at Rosa Parks Shelter in Roosevelt, NY, from 1990 to 2000; counselor residential and house parent at Boys Hope Girls Hope in Staten Island, NY, from 2000 to 2002; pastoral care counselor at Hospice Care Network in Woodbury, NY, from 2002 to 2007; and chaplain at Hospice Care Network in Woodbury, NY, from 2007 to 2014.

From 2014 until the time of her death, Sister Margaret Mary served as a prayer minister at home in North Merrick, NY and at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education/social sciences and a Master of Science degree in religious studies from Marywood College, and a Master of Science degree in secondary education/history from St. John’s University.

She is survived by three brothers, Frank Caulson and wife, Peggy, Manhasset, NY; Charles Caulson and wife, Sue, Aurora, CO; and James Caulson; and five sisters, Mary Agnes Kellerman and husband, Don, Orlando, FL; Sister Beatrice Caulson, IHM, Gainesville, FL; Joan Pope and husband, Kevin, Saugherties, NY; Ann Marie Salva and husband, Frank, Blakely, PA; and Alice Caulson, Scranton, PA; and eighteen nieces and nephews and fourteen grandnephews and grandnieces. She is also survived by members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Tuesday, May 10, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, May 9, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow at a later date at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.  

Memorial contributions may be to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Funeral:  https://video.ibm.com/recorded/86680512

Vespers: https://video.ibm.com/recorded/86645347


Reflection given by Sister Katie Clauss, IHM Congregation Vice-President and Councilor for Missioning and Community Life

Sister Margaret Mary (Marge) Caulson, Funeral May 10, 2016

Marge’s life as another Christ reflected her passion for attending to those who were in need. Her largesse of heart and willingness to act on their behalf made her a magnet, and children, women and men were drawn to her. In each place, Marge companioned those she met where they were and as they were, placing her stole of compassion on their shoulders. Yesterday we heard many beautiful examples of this. We heard that when the Motherhouse fire created chaos on many levels for the sisters living there, Marge was an anchor and helped the sisters to walk in and through the chaos by putting the pieces back together. When Marge met folks whose confidence in self was thwarted, she was there to remind them that our provident God was with them and they could count on that. Much like Jesus, Marge reminded those she served of God’s unconditional love.

In her Christ-centered life of self-emptying love, Marge did not allow her limitations to diminish what she could do for others—in her weakened condition she did not hesitate to reach out through beautiful cards to the children in Guatemala, to offer words of concern to those who provided care for her, to be the glue for her family, friends and colleagues as she offered selflessly who she was and what she had. The words of Denise Levertov, in her poem Missing Beatrice, capture the influence of Marge’s presence as another Christ to those she met: “Goodness was a fever in you. Anyone might glow in the heat of it, go home comforted – for them a shawl, for you fire at the bone.”

In ministry and in community, in her words and example to us as Junior Professed Sisters, and at congregation meetings, we could hear Marge’s “fire at the bone” in her prophetic soul. Marge spoke her truth in love with a compelling passion for God and God’s ways and for how God’s people and the earth were being treated. She challenged us with a sense of urgency “to do the impossible so that we would not be faced with the unthinkable” (as cited in Moe-Lobeda, 2013). Marge’s challenges to do the right thing for the right reason came with clarity and a non-judgmental spirit that did not point fingers but unabashedly pointed to the need for a Gospel-based understanding and response to a particular situation.

As a poet, Marge’s words created images and dreams that inspired and touched the hearts of those who drank of their beauty. Her poetic language also captured the hearts of those she served by helping them to reframe how they perceived themselves and in offering an alternate reality that was transformational—“You are beautiful.” Her words, her patient listening and her willingness to challenge and question became a bridge that converted a current and perhaps difficult reality into a stronger understanding of what was possible. Much like Jesus, Marge’s life was a prism of God’s dream for the world and she helped us to get a glimpse of the possibilities of that dream.

In the sharing of memories yesterday we also found out about other facets of our Marge, the other Christ, the prophet and the poet. We found out that the great state of New York, particularly Long Island, laid claim on her heart over her many years ministering there. We heard that chocolate and ice cream were non-negotiables, and side stepping into and floating on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean filled her with joy. We heard that there was a dare devil in Marge as she refashioned the spokes on Curt’s bicycle wheels and as she sat and waited for the tide to sneak up on her. Marge was the real deal-- wise and wondering, compassionate and wholehearted, courageous and tenacious, certain about what was important to her and clear about what brought her joy, and she was unafraid to share any or all of it.

Marge’s covenant with God is fulfilled as she is welcomed into God’s heart by her parents, Frank and Mary, her IHM aunts, Sisters Laetitia and Anchen, her uncle, Passionist Brother Ronan, and all of her family and friends who have awaited her coming.

Sister Beatrice Caulson will now place Marge’s bible on her coffin. The scripture is open to Psalm 73 where we hear the words that echoed throughout Marge’s life and in how she lived the mission: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my joy forever.”

Marge, God, your strength and your joy, now welcomes you home.