In Memory

Sister Margo McCormick, IHM

April 5, 1940 – July 20, 2019

Margo McCormick, IHM

Sister Margo McCormick, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Austin Marie) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Specialty Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

She was born on April 5, 1940, in Scranton, PA. She was the daughter of the late Austin and Irene Ferrick McCormick. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 7, 1957, and made her temporary profession of vows on March 14, 1960, and her final profession of vows on March 14, 1965.

Sister Margo served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Mary Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1960 to 1967; William Gaston Catholic High School in New Bern, NC, from 1967 to 1968; Archbishop Neale High School in La Plata, MD, from 1968 to 1969; and Bishop Hannan High School in Scranton, PA, from 1969 to 1977.

She served as principal at the following schools: Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1977 to 1980; Seton Catholic High School in Pittston, PA, from 1980 to 1984; Bishop Hannan High School in Scranton, PA, from 1986 to 1993; and Sacred Heart High School in Carbondale, PA, from 1997 to 2001.

Sister Margo also served as assistant superintendent of schools at the Diocesan Office of Education in Trenton, NJ, from 1984 to 1986; consultant at IHM Congregation Consultation Center in Scranton, PA, from 1994 to 1995; director of operations and manager of development at Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1995 to 1997; resource coordinator at Employment Opportunity and Training Center in Scranton, PA, from 2001 to 2013; and grant writer/communications for the Catherine McAuley Center in Scranton, PA, from 2013 until the time of her death.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Marywood College and a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Dayton.

She is survived by three sisters, Mary Ellen Jeffers of Scranton, PA; Kathleen Nathan of Winnetka, IL; and Patricia Hansen of Clarks Summit, PA; nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Thursday, July 25, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center on Wednesday, July 24, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Thursday 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


Funeral Mass:

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2019 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Margo McCormick, IHM, funeral on July 25, 2019

Good morning, Everyone. We gather together in prayer this morning to remember and celebrate the life of this special woman, Sister Margo. I want to welcome her sisters, Pat and husband, Steve, Kathy and husband, Dave, and Mary Ellen and husband, Brian; her IHM sisters who lived with Margo at Capouse: Kathy, Susan, Jane, Carol, Eleace, and those who lived there over these recent years: Jane Connolly, Kieran, Elvia, Elizabeth, Liz, Lisa, and Denise; Margo’s nieces and nephews: Joanne and Craig, Blair, Kyle, Kelly, Jack, and Scott; her grandnieces and grandnephews: Emma, Austin, and Corey, and all their other family members. We welcome too her co-workers from the Catherine McAuley Center and from EOTC; her many IHM friends, especially her Band and Mission Circle members; those who join us today via livestream and all who shared ministry and life with Margo throughout her life.

We welcome, too, Monsignor John Sempa, our celebrant, Monsignor Larry Tressler, and Deacon John Musyt. We thank you for being here with us today. All three knew Margo in their, and her, younger days and have their own stories of her.

“Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts,

and we are never the same.”

Flavia Weedn

We saw Margo every day, but perhaps never really stopped to realize just how large that footprint was that she leaving on our hearts. Yesterday, as we shared some wonderful stories about her during the wake service, and this morning in looking around this chapel, I am struck by the variety and number of connections Margo had in her life. For fifty-nine years, Margo witnessed her response to God’s call to live her life in love and service to others, especially the countless students, parents, teachers, and fellow administrators who benefitted from her professional and generous service. She was an extraordinary educator, innovator, leader, and mentor. She had an incredible ability to instill confidence and a commitment in students as well as teachers and parents. She witnessed every day her love for our IHM charism and core values by the authentic life she lived. That same dedication, ingenuity, and generosity were evident in her ministries as an IHM consultant, as development manager at Marywood University, as resource coordinator for EOTC, and for the past six years, as the grant writer and communications resource at the Catherine McAuley Center in Scranton.

We knew Margo as sister, aunt, teacher, principal, mentor, planner, writer, and so much more, but most of all, as a true friend. She lived and spoke the truth, as she knew it, even when we might not want to hear it. As I noted yesterday, I think we’ve all experienced, at least once or twice, God included, I think, her straightforward gaze accompanied by the equally frank, “I think you’re wrong.” But always though her words were strong, it was because they matched the caring heart she opened to all, whether one agreed with her or not. Her passion, integrity, courage, and commitment left us with no doubts about where she stood on life’s important issues. She never sought personal attention or gain, and she put others first always, with a special affinity for the underdog. Margo’s contributions to our IHM congregation are immeasurable and vital. Her knowledge and critical thinking about our governance structure especially helped move many a conversation at our assemblies and chapters and her leadership will be deeply missed. I did tell her when she was in the hospital that I was going to put a copy of our constitutions in her casket, just in case! Since she knew it so well it had to be her favorite reading material.

Margo’s true legacy lies not just in what she did or accomplished, but in the “how” she lived and was throughout her life. As we heard over and over in the stories yesterday, her life was a gift to and for others. Her relationship with God, as with all of us, was honest, genuine, and deep. I recently read a story about the manager of a small radio station who was asked at his retirement party to reflect on is life’s work and to sum it up in ten words or less. “I’ve just treated people better than I wanted to be treated myself,” he replied quietly. It was a simple-but-profound response for a life well lived and a job well done, and I think is a perfect reflection of how Margo sought to live her life among us; truly, a life well lived and a job very well done.

Margo’s final journey home to her God these past weeks was rewarded last Saturday and we can imagine the joy as she was reunited with her parents, Irene and Austin, and so many IHMs. I have no doubt that after greeting her parents, Margo went straight to God to have one of those honest conversations about all those people and needs that required God’s intervention now! And knowing Margo’s persuasive abilities, I’m betting that God got right on at least some of them.

We pray very specially today for Margo’s sisters, and all her family members, her beloved sisters at Capouse, all her IHM sisters, her many friends and co-workers, and all who knew and loved her. We also give thanks to her doctors, especially her dear friend for many years, Dr. Gibbons, and many wonderful nurses and staff at Specialty Hospital in Wilkes Barre who were so caring and attentive to Margo these past two months.

The following is a quote from Joan Chittister: “We are companioned through life. Underneath it all, holding us up . . . are the people who love us. However much we find ourselves in the throes of life, they stand by until we land again on solid ground, find ourselves again . . . Because of them we stay on the path. “

Those who have walked life’s journey with Margo know for certain that she spent her life holding us up, and helping us to find our footing again during difficult times. So as we gather around this table today, may we resolve to be examples of God’s love and care for others and may we be blessed by our own faith and hope in the resurrected Jesus and rejoice in the same God who today enfolds Margo in loving arms of eternal peace and joy.

Pat will now place the scriptures on Margo’s casket, for indeed Margo heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full . . . the Word now beckons Margo home.

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