Sr. Margaret Donegan has a great love for education, which cultivated in her an ability and gift to recognize and encourage students’ potential and build their confidence. During her fifty-one-year teaching career, 1960 to 2011, Sr. Margaret inspired students in the classroom as well as young teachers to grow professionally.
At Holy Cross Academy, Cathedral High School, St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, and Resurrection Academy, Sr. Margaret taught both English and Religion. For a combined 30 years, Sr. Margaret taught at St. Raymond Academy in the Bronx. Here she served in several roles, including Chair of the English Department, yearbook moderator, and Middle States Steering Committee member.
The highlight of Sr. Margaret’s 30-years at St. Raymond Academy was as director of the unique program, Caritas, which highlighted students whose potential could easily be overlooked in a large classroom. Through prayerful reflection on the Gospel and genuine sharing of ideas, the students experienced their classmates’ support and respect. In a most sensitive atmosphere, they discovered their gifts. They grew in confidence, thus enabling them to share their talents.
“The Seton Scholars: City’s Hope” program, also directed by Sr. Margaret and subsidized by the Sisters of Charity, similarly supported smaller class sizes to encourage students to be more aware of and sensitive to their classmates, to learn to participate with more confidence, and to communicate more successfully with others.
For her continued devotion and efforts, Sr. Margaret received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Compassionate Educator Award from St. Raymond Academy in 2006. Sr. Margaret, however, prefers the phrase “dedicated teacher.” “My compassion for them was a given. What I wanted was for them to believe in themselves, to find their gifts and use them, that they could become what they wanted.”
During her retirement years, Sr. Margaret tutored in the Academic Research Center at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Today she volunteers at the SC Archives and conducts research to write about the Congregation and the various ministries for Vision, the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of New York, and the website.
For all that Sr. Margaret has accomplished, her most enjoyable experience is as a teacher. The words of her former students are most poignant and revealing of her impact: “Sr. Margaret really did change my life. She was one of the only people who helped me to believe in myself and my abilities.” Students from the St. Raymond Academy Class of 2009 wrote this tribute to Sr. Margaret: “We will never forget the great wisdom and knowledge you have gifted us. We will hold onto these spiritual teachings in heart and mind.”
by Mindy Gordon, Director, Archives and Museum
- Holy Cross Academy, Manhattan
- Cathedral High School, Manhattan
- St. Joseph by-the-Sea, Staten Island
- St. Raymond Academy, Bronx
- Resurrection Academy, Rye
- St. Raymond Academy, Bronx
- College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx
2011–19, Volunteer, Academic Research Center
- SC Archives, MSV, Bronx