Sister Marguerite Adams, 1918-2013

Sister Marguerite Adams O.S.B., 95, of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, died Tues., Oct. 1, 2013 at the Monastery.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m. on Friday in the Chapel of St. Mary Monastery, 2200 88th Ave. W., Rock Island. Burial is at Calvary Cemetery, Rock Island. Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Monastery, where a Christian wake service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, Milan is assisting with arrangements. Memorials may be made to St. Mary Monastery.

Margaret E. Adams was born Jan. 28, 1918 in Peoria, a daughter of John and Verna Miller Adams. She attended St. Boniface Grade School and Manuel High School, both in Peoria. She graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

Sister Marguerite entered the Benedictine community on Dec. 8, 1942 and made her first profession as a Benedictine Sister on Aug. 21, 1944. Her ministry included teaching school at Sts. Peter & Paul, Nauvoo, Ill., St. Roch, LaSalle, Ill., Immaculate Conception, Monmouth, Ill., St. Mary, Wenona, Ill., St. Boniface and Holy Family, both of Peoria, and St. Columba’s, Chicago.

She is survived by her Benedictine Sisters; sister, Verna Carter; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Bob and Bill Adams; and a sister, Betty Evelsizer.

Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB offered the following reflection on Sister Marguerite’s life:

The gospels provide an intimate link for us, I believe, between Jesus and Sister Marguerite.  We note  Jesus’  deep love for ‘mere’ children and his recognition of their inherent dignity and even wisdom in the eyes of God.  Sister Marguerite spent 45 of the 95 years of her life as a grade school teacher.  In this capacity she was recognized as a loving teacher who led the children to know their goodness both in her eyes and in the eyes of God.  Jesus and Sr Marguerite shared this deep reverence with children and love for them.

Margaret Adams was born in Peoria Illinois in January 1918.  She was the oldest of 5 children born to John Adams and Verna Miller.  She attended St. Boniface Grade School and Manual High School in Peoria.  Margaret has said that she was attracted to religious life by the beauty and kindness of the sisters who taught in her grade school.  An autograph book Sister kept includes messages from those sisters;  they are Sisters Adele, Fabian,  Mary Paul, Modesta, and Hubertine.

Sister entered the community in December 1942 and made first profession of vows in 1944.   That same year she began her teaching career.  It took her through the years from Nauvoo to LaSalle, Monmouth, Wenona, Peoria and Chicago.  Over the years she taught all eight grades and served as principal.  This surely attests to her adaptability and wide range of talents.   Numerous thank you notes she has kept indicate that she was beloved by her students and appreciated by parents who recognized how she brought out the best in their children.

In 1989 Sister Marguerite began to live with her father and care for him. Following her dad’s death in 1996 Sister came to Nauvoo where she served as sacristan at the monastery.  She  continued  that service here in Rock Island, too, finally fully retiring in 2004.

In a letter marking her 60th jubilee Fr. Dick Bresnahan wrote to Sister:  “I’ve had very little opportunity to know you personally until we began to meet several times most weeks in the sacristy before and after Mass.  There I began to appreciate how dedicated you were and concerned that everything be just right for Mass.  I know that when I arrive in the sacristy, everything will be ready to go.”  Sister applied the same dedication to this service as she had as a teacher.

Today we can imagine Christ welcoming Sister home with the words, “Come to me, you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.”  In faith we trust that she is experiencing the refreshment of the heavenly banquet which all of our Eucharistic celebration anticipates.

One thought on “Sister Marguerite Adams, 1918-2013

  1. […] for those who have died recently. In this case, Sister Cabrini’s candle is still burning (and Sister Marguerite‘s candle will finish burning today), so at the end of Vespers we will have 13 candles […]


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