For Sr. Peggy, who is celebrating 70 years as a Sister of Notre Dame, each day starts with prayer. “Here at the Province Center I can always find a peaceful place and look out at the beautiful trees.”
Peggy did not always have such a quiet life. She grew up, as one of her friends says, “an Army non-brat and always on the move.” Born in Washington, D.C., her father’s military commitments during World War II and afterwards took the family from Baltimore to Hawaii, San Luis Obispo and Salinas.
For a time Peggy and her sister Alice were sent to boarding school at Moreland Notre Dame in Watsonville, but when the family relocated to Carmel the girls were sent to Carmel High. But a move to Marysville brought them back to a Notre Dame school again! Peggy enjoyed walking to school each day with Barbara Hanagan (who became a Sister too) and her other schoolmates. Her father was soon transferred again, this time to San Francisco and the girls were sent to nearby Sacred Heart Academy.
In her senior year, Peggy was “pretty sure” she wanted to be a Sister. One of her teachers suggested she talk with a Jesuit at University of San Francisco who just happened to have two sisters who were Sisters of Notre Dame. The summer after her high school graduation, Peggy entered the Notre Dame novitiate in Saratoga.
Even as a Sister, Peggy continued her travels, teaching in many Notre Dame schools throughout California, Washington and Hawaii. Fifth graders were her favorites. “They were happy and happy to learn,” she remembers, “and mostly well behaved!”
After almost 40 years as a classroom teacher, Sr. Peggy offered to assist in the fourth grade at Notre Dame Elementary, Belmont. Teacher Gale Vaillancourt was most grateful to have her. “Sr. Peggy helped the children with anything–math, reading, writing. She loved the children and they loved her. We worked so well together. I look forward to celebrating her Jubilee with her!”
Sr. Peggy loved teaching and has been happy living in communities, but, for her, the special blessing of her life in Notre Dame was the way she was led closer to God. “Regardless of ministry, our congregation wants us to take time to grow, to be a better persons, not just good teachers. We have been encouraged to take time for retreats and spiritual growth.” She appreciated her years serving at the House of Prayer in Carmel.
Now, in her second retirement, Sister describes her present ministry: “It’s to be loving and kind to all the people around me.”
“I am so grateful. I can’t believe it, so many years to be a religious and to know Jesus. Being a Sister has been a happy, grace-filled time for me with many happy surprises. God’s grace is for all of us.”