March 10, 1937 – November 4, 2021
Sister Margaret Patrick McPeak, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 63 years, died on November 4, 2021 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, New York.
Sister Margaret, or Peg, was born in Jordan, New York, on March 10, 1937, the daughter of Hugh P. McPeak and Margaret H. McLaughlin. She graduated from Jordan Central High School, and in 1958, Margaret entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, pronouncing her first vows on March 20, 1961 and her final vows on August 6, 1966.
Sister Margaret earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from The College of Saint Rose in 1963 and a master’s degree in philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago in 1970.
A love of and excellence in sports had led Sister Margaret to study at SUNY Cortland for two years, in preparation for teaching physical education. When she chose to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph, her lifelong ministry and love became education. She is remembered for her excellence as a teacher of mathematics at Syracuse and Albany diocesan high schools from 1963-1971 and as a teacher of philosophy at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Mount St. Joseph, Ohio for 30 years.
To say that Sister Margaret loved teaching is an understatement. She wrote, “To share what one understands is, I think, the most intimate human activity. Teaching, which provides an opportunity for such sharing, is for me one of the most human of all my activities.” Sister Margaret was a not only an outstanding teacher, but also a fine colleague and innovative leader in her ministry, as is well-documented in awards she received.
In 1996, Mount St. Joseph College awarded Sister Margaret an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, praising her leadership in curriculum development, commitment to the students and values of Mount St. Joseph, skill in preparing the college for accreditation, ability to guide her colleagues on such issues as assessment and the centrality of the liberal arts and her willingness to be a team player. The college’s president lauded “Sister Peg” for accepting “challenges with an openness of heart and mind, deep respect for the views and contributions of others, belief in the potential of students and commitment to the mission of the Mount.”
In 2009, Mount St. Joseph College’s founders, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, presented Sister Margaret their highest honor, the Elizabeth Seton Award, calling her 30-year stewardship of the of mission at the college “legendary.” In particular, the award praised Sister Margaret as a pioneer in the development of challenging curriculums, including the interdisciplinary women’s studies program and the Weekend College of the Liberal Arts.
Sister Margaret remained close to her CSJ community, whether living in New York or in Ohio. Her faithful presence over 50 years was reflected when in 2008, the sisters she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph with in 1958 honored Sister Margaret by asking her to be the homilist at their 50th Jubilee Mass. In her reflections, she cited Scripture and philosophy and urged that all embrace “the responsibility to empower continual rejuvenation.” Always a far-seeing woman, Sister Margaret called her sisters to embrace especially the goal of rejuvenating nature with love.
Sister Margaret’s close family member and lifelong friend, her cousin Sister Katherine McPeak, recalled that Peg was warm, gentle, fun-loving, always fully attentive to the person in front of her, always ready to help out, “always a sweetheart.” Sister Margaret’s long-time golfing partner and traveling companion, Mary Jo Coleman, noted that Sister Margaret continued enjoying sports events of all kinds.
In addition to her parents, Sister Margaret was predeceased by her sister, Mary Sue Creed, and her dear friend, Sister Elizabeth Cashman, SC. She is survived by her cousins, Sister Katherine McPeak and Margaret Delaney; her nephew Frank Creed; her niece, Margaret Ribero; her dear friend Mary Jo Coleman; and her community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
Due to continued health concerns regarding COVID-19, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Margaret. A private wake service and funeral Mass will be held for Sisters of St. Joseph and Sister Margaret’s immediate family.
Contributions in Sister’s memory may be made to The Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet -Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110 or donate online.