Sister Margaret Hannan (1938 – 2013)

Margaret Hannan SGS

Margaret Hannan was born on April 9, 1938, the third child in a family of three girls and one boy. Her parents, Vincent and Phillipa (nee Wise), resided in Wollongong and Margaret was educated at St Francis Xavier’s Primary School and St Mary’s College, where she completed the Leaving Certificate in 1954.

She enjoyed working in the business world until she entered Mount St Benedict Novitiate Pennant Hills in 1956. Margaret professed her vows in January 1959 and trained at St Scholastica’s Teachers’ Training College. Always earnest and keen to please, Margaret thrived in the Training College and showed promise of becoming a good teacher.

Margaret was principal of schools in Queensland and New South Wales. She delighted in relaying her experiences in the classroom and enjoyed visiting families in the country towns, especially Charters Towers and Gayndah. She is remembered for her gentle earnest manner and keen interest in all things educational.

Forty years ago she was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer that slowly developed and, with her usual strength of character, continued to teach and study.

In 1973, Margaret gained a Certificate in Theology from Banyo Seminary. She lived at Arncliffe in 1980 and attended the Centre of Christian Spirituality. This was followed by a Diploma of Teaching, a Graduate Diploma of Teaching and a Bachelor of Education at McAuley College, Brisbane.

After her appointment as Religious Education Co-ordinator for St Gregory’s Parish and School, 1988-1989, Margaret studied at Boston College Post Graduate University, USA, where she was awarded a Master of Education and a Master of Arts, 1990-1992.

After returning to Brisbane, Margaret lectured at the Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, where she was Head of the School of Theology. She received her Doctorate in Religious Studies in 2003 and published her book The Nature and Demands of the Sovereign Rule of God in the Gospel of Matthew in 2006.

Margaret accepted an Honorary Fellowship of ACU in 2007 and joined the Benet community in Sydney. She lectured in the New Life Programs at Marymount Mercy Centre, Castle Hill and was immersed in research on women in the Old and New Testaments.

In 2008, she participated in a Renewal for Ministry Programme at All Hallows, Dublin, Ireland.

Margaret was faithful to her commitment as a Sister of the Good Samaritan. She began the day with her meditation and spiritual reading and, when she went to hospital, her office book and spiritual reading books were always required.

She loved craft and her community and friends benefited from a generous supply of cards that she made. Even when she began palliative care, Margaret continued with all her interests. She enjoyed community life and, until October 2012, generously shared in all community activities.

One of the joys of her move to Sydney was being close to her family, and when she died in the late afternoon of January 27, her sisters, family members and Good Samaritan friends were praying as she entered fully into the reign of God.