Sister Margaret devoted a lifetime to improving health care for persons whose life circumstances were lived in poverty. This mission-driven focus offered quality care with genuine compassion.
Sister Margaret Sweeney (Sister Mary Jeremiah) was born October 24, 1921, in Manhattan, one of two children, a son and a daughter, of Jeremiah and Mary Dougherty Sweeney.
Margaret attended Saint Thomas the Apostle Elementary School and Cathedral High School, both in Manhattan, and continued education for two years at Hunter College and Drake Business School. Margaret gained work experience for five years before entering the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1946.
After novitiate, Sister Jeremiah earned a BS in Business Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, an MBA in Business Administration from Saint John’s University and an MS in Hospital Administration from Columbia University. Additionally, she received a New York State License in Nursing Home Administration.
Sister Margaret began her forty-nine years of active ministry as a teacher in Saint Joachim School, Beacon, New York, in 1948. In 1950, her “temporary transfer” to Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan, lasted for forty years in which she filled various positions of increasing responsibility. She served as Supervisor and as Assistant Controller in the business office and continued in roles with increased administrative authority in various departments.
The knowledge Sister Margaret gained from the varied responsibilities well-prepared her for appointment in 1980 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, then known as Saint Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York. Two significant achievements of her administration were developing a master plan for modernization and the initiation of several community-responsive programs. In 1990, she transitioned her management and governing skills to the College of Mount Saint Vincent, serving for seven years as Vice-President for Administration, beginning with then-President, Sister Doris Smith, and continuing with Dr. Molly Stuart.
In her years of active ministry at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Sister Margaret served on various Congregation committees and as an advisor to its Board of Trustees and Pension Board. She held office on the parish council of Saint Joseph Church, Greenwich Village, and was a member of the New York State Advisory Committee on Health to the Conference of Bishops.
Sister Margaret spent the early years of retirement organizing the archives of Saint Vincent’s Medical Center. She then joined the retirement communities at Mount Saint Vincent Convent, Convent of Mary the Queen, Yonkers, and Schervier Nursing Care Center in the Bronx. In early 2021, Sister Margaret moved to Cabrini of Westchester, where she died April 11, 2021, in the seventy-fifth year of commitment as a Sister of Charity of New York.
Sister Margaret devoted a lifetime to improving health care for persons whose life circumstances were lived in poverty. This mission-driven focus offered quality care with genuine compassion. We rejoice in the belief that she is welcomed home by a loving and merciful God. Rest in peace, Sister Margaret.
Date of Death
April 11, 2021
Flynn Funeral Home
Central Avenue, Yonkers
Saturday, April 17, 8–9 am, masks must be worn
Prayer and Sharing of Memories at 8:30 am
Live-streaming at 8:30 am: https://venue.streamspot.com/d286a8ab
St. Margaret of Cortona Church, Bronx
Saturday, April 17 at 9:45 am, masks must be worn
Live-streaming at 9:45 am: https://venue.streamspot.com/217aa3db
St. Raymond Cemetery
Archdiocese of New York
- St. Joachim, Beacon
1948–50, Teacher, Gr. 4,7
- St. Vincent Hospital, Manhattan
1950–58, Supervisor, Business Office
1958–64, Assistant Controller
1964–70, Assistant Administrator
1971–72, Deputy Executive Director
1972–80, Senior Vice President
1980–90, President and CEO
- College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx
1990–97, VP for Administration
- St. Vincent Hospital, Manhattan
My heart is broken. I loved her so very much. I worked as Sister Margaret’s Executive Assistant for 20 years at St Vincent’s. We remained lifelong friends and close confidants. She is the Godmother to my oldest daughter. She was my mentor and was very much like a second mother to me. I have so many wonderful stories about Sister Margaret because I feel no one knew her as well as I and the Sisters with whom she lived (Sister Margaret Harnett, Sister Patrice Murphy, Sister Teresita Duque and Sister Vincent) for over 30 years in apt 4g of the Martin Payne Building at St Vincent’s. These close friends all passed away and Sister Margaret was the last one left. In my heart I felt I lost her about 2=years ago when she no longer could really respond at my visits. I would sing Irish songs to her whenever I visited and she loved it and I know she loved me. At St Vincent’s Sister Margaret was such a wonderful leader. She not only spearheaded a multi-million dollar renovation in the early 1980s but she once told me her proudest achievement was her renovation of the beautiful chapel there. It truly was magnificent. I wonder what happened to it. She was heartbroken when St. Vincent’s closed. It impacted her greatly when she knew she had put her heart and soul into making it the wonderful health care facility it was when she retired. It was very sad what happened there. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend her funeral but I will watch it on the computer. I’m so sad that I can’t be there. But I thank God for giving me the opportunity to know her so well. Rest In Peace Sister Margaret. Enjoy your time in Heaven with all your family and close friends and have a big Irish party. Love you always
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories. We are so very grateful. Our condolences for your loss.
All of the Harnett family has deep and loving memories of Sister Margaret and St. Vincent’s Hospital. Our Aunt Margie ( Sr Margaret Regina Harnett) shared the apartment in Martin Payne building with Sr Margaret, Sr Terisita and Sr Patrice for nearly 40 years and they were truly an incredible and caring group. How blessed we are to have shared wonderful times with them. Sr Margaret is now with them resting in peace.
Bill and Patty, Kate, Ellen, Tom and Susan and Meghan
Amen, Catherine. Amen!
We are Sister Margaret’s
cousins – Rita and Tish.
Our parents were Aunt Bella and Uncle Tim and it was with them that Sister Margaret’s father, our Uncle Joe, lived, in Lynbrook, LI.
Sister was so faithful to her father and came to visit him every other Sunday, creating a reason for a mini Irish get together.
She and the other Sisters were so beloved by our families and we all considered each a friend.
Circumstances have made it that we were unable to visit recently but she is always in our thoughts.
Tootsie, say “hello” to everybody and we’ll be seeing you soon.
The Spielman and Moriarty families
Dear Sister Margaret served as Vice President for Administration when I was President of the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She died the very afternoon I had addressed and stamped a card to send to her.
I have so many wonderful memories of Sister Margaret but two stand out for me. First, she was in charge of my Inauguration in April of 1993. She was determined to make the ceremony and festivities of the first lay president of the College to stand out and be remembered. How she did it, I don’t know but she filled Spellman Auditorium with special guests and dignitaries along with Sisters, CMSV alumnae, students, faculty and staff and my family. On a shoestring budget she pulled off an amazing event with no direction whatsoever from me (definitely not permitted)!
My second memory is of her and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement (Don Alfano) every so often dancing up and down the hall of the Admin. building passing by our offices. Up and down with such delight. And, what great dancers!
Thank you, Sister Margaret, for your wisdom and guidance…and for the prayer of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland that still guides me today.
I lived with her over 50 years ago inSt Vincent’s.
When I left she gave me a pearl necklace which I still have
I think often and of the story of how her dad called her tootsie ….that when she started school she did not respond to her Christian name Margaret
May she rest in peace