Sr. Margaret Cecilia Wagner, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who served 40 years teaching, praying and serving in the Diocese of Phoenix, died May 29. She was 89.
Born Laura Mae Wagner, she joined the sisters as a senior in high school and spent 71 years of her life with the religious community. Half of that time was in Ohio classrooms and at Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix.
Sr. Margaret Cecilia came to the Diocese of Phoenix as a junior high teacher in 1968. She stayed there eight years and fell in love with Arizona. Sr. Margaret Cecilia devoted the next 11 years to parish religious education.
She “retired” from the parish in 1987, but spent the following decade volunteering at a local thrift shop and through outreach to the poor.
“People in the parish will remember her as a woman of prayer, great devotion to the Blessed Mother and the poor, especially those who were hungry or needed clothing,” said Sr. Maria Celia Molina, SNDdeN, who lived with Sr. Margaret Cecilia for several years.
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, which is celebrating its 175th year in the United States, are committed to education and standing in solidarity with the poor.
Sr. Margaret Cecilia Wagner
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Born: March 4, 1926 in Dayton, Ohio
Ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix
1968-1986 Most Holy Trinity School
1987-1997 Volunteer Work
1997-2008 Ministry of Prayer
Died: May 29, 2015
Memorials: Retirement Fund of the Sisters of Notre Dame, 701 E. Columbia Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45215
[/quote_box_right]She recalled the sister’s passion for feeding the hungry and the parishioners who bought extra groceries for “Sr. Margaret’s Pantry.” Even if the greater community didn’t know Sr. Margaret Cecilia by name, they might recognize her by sight.
She embraced the religious habit opting to wear a “modified habit” or simple veil when it wasn’t required. One time, before taking off on a flight to the motherhouse in Cincinnati, a first-class passenger who saw the elderly sister board in a wheelchair, recognized her habit and took her seat in the back of the plane.
Sr. Margaret Cecilia devoted her life to a ministry of prayer from 1997 until she returned to the motherhouse in 2008 and retained a life of prayer. Sr. Margaret Campbell, SNDdeN, said many from Phoenix wrote to her over the years.
Sr. Margaret Cecilia’s ministry of prayer in both cities offered intentions sent to the sisters from across the world, for those who suffer, for former students and priests with whom they have served.