In Memory

Sister Margaret Benfield, IHM

November 17, 1939 – March 13, 2013

Margaret Benfield, IHM

Sister Margaret Benfield, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Margaret William) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at the VNA Inpatient Hospice Unit at Geisinger-Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on November 17, 1939, in Danville, PA, and she was the daughter of the late William and Margaret Tighe Benfield. She entered the IHM Congregation in Immaculata, PA, on July 16, 1957, made her temporary profession of vows on January 16, 1960, and her final profession of vows on August 15, 1965. She joined the Scranton IHM Congregation in 1978.

Sister Margaret served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Clement Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, from 1960 to 1966; St. Bernard Elementary School in Easton, PA, from 1966 to 1967; St. Gabriel Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, from 1967 to 1969; St. Edward Elementary School in Shamokin, PA, from 1969 to 1971; Our Lady of Grace Elementary School in Penndel, PA, from 1971 to 1973; St. Matthew Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, from 1973 to 1976; St. Dominic Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, from 1976 to 1978; Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School in Forty Fort, PA, in 1979; Epiphany Elementary School in Sayre, PA, from 1979 to 1981; and St. Paul Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1981 to 1983.

Sister also served as a counselor at Lourdesmont in Clarks Green, PA, from 1983 to 2007, and as an administrative assistant at Lourdesmont from 2007 to 2009. She served as a volunteer at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA, from 2009 to 2010.

From 2010 until the time of her death, Sister Margaret was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a bachelor of arts degree in education from Immaculata College and a master of arts degree in counselor education from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Jane Benfield.

She is survived by a brother, Wayne of Mount Carmel, PA; and nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Monday, March 18, 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 Sunday, March 17, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Monday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

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

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2013 issue

Margaret Benfield was loving, joyful, and grateful all of her life. Margaret Benfield was a woman who followed her heart. Born in Centralia, PA, on November 17, 1939, she was the daughter of a coal miner and a nurse. She loved her family well — her Mom and Dad, Wayne and his family, and her sister, Jane. Margaret loved her friend Suzanne, and she loved me — a fact for which I shall be forever grateful. She loved so many people — I cannot list them — but they know who they are — Margaret always let them know.

Once Margaret told me that for as long as she could remember, she wanted to be a sister. When Margaret was seventeen, her heart led her
to West Chester where her dream came true. She was professed as an IHM. Margaret ministered as a grade school teacher for eighteen
years. I can attest to Margaret’s gift as a teacher, since I taught with her for three years. She loved the children and she loved teaching.

In 1978, Margaret’s heart led her to Scranton where she felt totally at home. She served as a teacher for four years but her heart was calling her elsewhere.

After receiving her graduate degree in counseling, her heart drew her to Lourdesmont where she ministered for many years. She often quoted Mother Mary Euphrasia to me: “it is not enough to love the children, they must know it.” Margaret lived out that reality all of her life — as a teacher, counselor, and administrator she loved the children and they knew it.

Margaret came home to Our Lady of Peace Residence in 2009 where I visited her frequently. She often spoke about how fortunate we were to be Scranton IHMs. She loved being a Scranton IHM and she let everyone know it.

Margaret was the kind of person who saw God everywhere. She saw God in prayer and in people, in nature, in ordinary things, and in extraordinary things. And now Margaret gazes upon God’s face and feels completely God’s unconditional love for her. “Holy is God’s name.”

by Sister Claire Kulp, IHM

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