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29 April

Margaret Ordway, IBVM

Margaret was a teacher. She began and ended her teaching ministry in the USA at Woodlawn, Chicago in 1935 and Sacramento, California in 1980. In between she taught in Canada in Guelph, Niagara Falls, Stratford and Toronto. Students from those days will remember the unique experience of the Loretto Train to the Stratford Festival as well as the publication of the Loretto Rainbow featuring articles by and about students in Loretto Schools. A defining moment in her own life was her experience at the Institut Pastoral Catechetique in Strasbourg in 1963-1964. There, she says she made a transition “from a highly rational, neatly packaged and coldly analytical mind to a learning person open to conversion.”

From 1980 to 1982 Margaret was involved with native teacher training with SUNTEP in Saskatoon and at La Ronge, Saskatchewan, the province of her birth. While teaching at Loretto College School, Toronto, Margaret worked with Fr Tom McKillop and “Youth Corps” introducing students to the social justice issues of the day. As Social Justice Coordinator for the Canadian Religious Conference-West and as one of the founding members of the Catholic New Times, Margaret played a significant role in building up the adult faith community. She entered wholeheartedly into Protestant-Catholic Dialogue, encouraging women’s role in promoting Christian unity and took up the cause of the Interchurch Uranium Committee castigating the province of Saskatchewan for being a major supplier for the nuclear arms race.

Margaret also worked with the Quebec team on the revision and translation of Come to the Father, the version of the Canadian Catechism launched by Paulist Press in 1967 for English Canada. It reflected the renewal brought about by Vatican II, engaging parents in the religious education of their children. Tremendous creativity went into the creation of books for children and parents – the Novalis audio-visual programme, Flowers in the Sun, on which Margaret worked, complimented it beautifully.

Margaret defined getting older as “getting wiser”. The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) benefited of that wisdom as Margaret was elected to the General Council in 1987 and produced a lovely reflection booklet on our founder, Mary Ward. Margaret was truly a visionary and pioneer in religious life and in education, open and responding in true freedom to God’s continuous calls to her.

LINK: http://www.ibvm.ca/