Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice) died Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.
She was born in Chicago on March 22, 1922, to Herbert E. and Laura McMullen Mollan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1939, from Presentation Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.
Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago and Mundelein, Ill.; San Jose, San Francisco and Glendale, Calif.; Kauai, Hawaii; Lincoln, Neb.; and Butte, Mont. She served in pastoral ministry in California in La Canada and Glendale, and as school volunteer in Pasadena.
She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Herbert, Ralph and Paul. She is survived by a nephew, grandnephew, grandnieces, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 77 years.
Sister Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice)
Marian Hall, March 2, 2017
Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Mollan.
Margaret Mary Mollan was born on March 22, 1922, the only daughter of Herbert and Laura (McMullen) Mollan of Chicago, Ill. Margaret had two older brothers, Herbert and Ralph, and a younger brother, Paul. Two of her brothers were ordained priests—Ralph in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Paul in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, since he was too old to enter Mundelein Seminary after being discharged from the Navy. “Our family was close,” she commented. “My parents were such good people.”
Margaret attended Presentation Elementary School. She was a great lover of books from the time she learned to read. Her Christmas list would include the works of Louisa Mae Alcott, the Nancy Drew mysteries, and so many religious biographies that she fantasized about following in the footsteps of Father Damien on Molokai. Margaret sought female companionship among the members of a family of five girls who lived down the block. Two of these girls became BVMs—Sister Mary Norette Fitzgibbon and Joanne Fitzgibbon, who later withdrew.
While a student at St. Mary HS, Margaret wrote, “I have long desired to serve God in a more special way.” Eventually, she came to see that the BVM community and teaching were a better fit than missionary work. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, received the name Laurice upon her reception on March 19, 1940, and professed her first vows on March 19, 1942. Reflecting back on her 77 years as a BVM, she shared, “It was all I ever wanted it to be.”
Margaret was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. She was missioned at St. Aloysius, St. Gertrude and St. Cornelius in Chicago; St. Ambrose in Des Moines, Iowa; St. Leo in San Jose, St. Brigid in San Francisco, and Incarnation in Glendale, all in California; St. Catherine in Kauai, Hawaii; Sacred Heart in Lincoln, Neb.; and Immaculate Conception in Butte, Mont. She also taught English and history for 14 years at Carmel Catholic HS in Mundelein, Ill. She was always interested in her students as individuals and quickly learned their names. Her gentle manner and voice was endearing to her students whatever their age. It is not surprising that her favorite teaching mission was Hawaii. “I loved it there,” she commented, “except for the lizards.”
In addition to teaching, Margaret was a parish minister at St. Bede Parish in La Canada, Calif., and at Incarnation Parish in Glendale, where she filled the roles of liturgical consultant, director of religious education, and adult ministry trainer. The closing of Incarnation left a big hole in her life. She moved to Pasadena, Calif., where she filled that hole by volunteering to teach computer classes to junior high students at St. Philip. She also served the parish as a prayer group leader and Eucharistic minister. One benefit of living at St. Philip was the special seating the sisters enjoyed as the Rose Parade passed right by the convent.
Margaret continued to expand her volunteering efforts during her time in Pasadena. She volunteered almost every day at the Pasadena Senior Center, where she staffed the reception desk and served meals. To become a more effective volunteer, she completed a Senior Advocacy Training Program and afterwards served as a member of the Senior Advocacy Council. Her volunteer work with the Pasadena Police Department was by far the most interesting. Through the Victim Counseling Program, she walked with senior citizens who were crime victims, offering them support, counseling, and even home security checks. Sometimes she had to ride with police officers in the squad car. On one occasion, there was a car theft where the perpetrators were “armed and dangerous.” She witnessed the capture, arrest and booking of the suspects. In 2003, the county of Los Angeles recognized Margaret as an outstanding volunteer. She simply commented, “I spend most days trying to serve God the best way I know how and to help God’s children.”
Margaret’s desire to serve continued after moving to Mount Carmel. For many years, she served in hospitality, as a sister-companion, and visiting the dying in the ministry of presence. Certain social justice issues earned her complete dedication. She opposed the death penalty and faithfully tolled the bell on the day of a prisoner’s execution. While serving on the Hunger Fund Committee, she embraced the Heifer Project and, with great animation and persuasiveness, gave a presentation of its positive outcomes. She even gave gifts to people in the form of donations to the project in their honor. Eventually, when health issues limited her involvement, she gracefully embraced a ministry of prayer.
Margaret was always realistic about her capabilities and limitations and chose to be proactive in determining her life course. The year before the St. Philip convent was scheduled to close, she decided to move to Mount Carmel. Realizing a need for increased care, she initiated her move from independent to assisted living two years ago, as well as her move to skilled care last fall.
Family was very important to Margaret. Through the generosity of her priest brothers, she was able to travel to Greece, Istanbul, the Holy Land and Rome, a dream for a social studies teacher. Moving back to Mount Carmel brought her closer to her oldest brother Herbert, her nephew Terry, and his family. Whether they came to Mount Carmel or she traveled to Rockford, Ill., she enjoyed the opportunity to visit.
In the first reading, St. Paul advises, “Your kindness should be known to all.” Think of Margaret and one word immediately comes to mind—kind. The little kindnesses that she did for others made life more pleasant. Being gracious, welcoming and affirming was as much a part of her nature as wearing a smile. She lived simply and was simply a delight. With deep appreciation, she summed up her years at Mount Carmel by saying, “I have been very happy here.” With gratitude for the blessing of her kindness, we celebrate Margaret’s risen life, confident that she knows eternal happiness there.
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