Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)

Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard) died Tuesday, March 1, 2017, at Northwestern Hospital, Chicago. A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Lubbers Haas. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1953, from St. Paul of the Cross Parish, Park Ridge, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1956, and final vows on July 16, 1961.

Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary schoolteacher in Council Bluffs and Des Moines, Iowa; San Francisco; Lincoln, Neb.; and Chicago and Mundelein, Ill. Also in Chicago, she ministered as curriculum consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago; was director of connections for a college adult education center, served in donor relations for a boys/girls home, and worked in parish ministry.

She was preceded in death by her parents: Lucille, Marian and John; and brother Robert. She is survived by a twin sister, Marilyn Haas, Chicago; and sisters: Monica Michelau, Des Plaines; Mary Kathryn Amaya, Genoa, Ill.; Carolyn Thompson, Park Ridge; Mary Beth Fitt, Genoa City, Wis.; and Patricia Bougher, Whitmore Lake, Mich. She is also survived by brothers: John Haas, Park Ridge; Thomas Haas, Des Plaines; and Robert Haas, Libertyville, Ill.; many nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 63 years.

Sister Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)
Liturgy Reflections, March 18, 2017
St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Haas. Together with Margaret’s family: her sisters Monica, Mary Kathryn, Carolyn, Mary Beth and Patricia, and her brothers John, Thomas, Robert and their families, I welcome you, my sister BVMs and associates, Margaret’s friends and former co-workers from Chicago Catholic schools, Malcolm X College, Mercy Home, adult literacy programs in Chicago parishes, as well as the many friends who have blessed Margaret’s life here in Chicago these many years.

We come together this morning to celebrate Margaret’s life and the gift she was to her family, to the BVM community, and to the many she served through over 50 years of ministry.

Margaret Lucille Haas and her twin sister Marilyn were born on August 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Haas in Cleveland, Ohio. A third child, Robert, was born two years later and died at age three. A year later, when Margaret and Marilyn were six, their mother died of cancer, leaving John alone with two young children.

Three years later, in 1941, John Haas moved to Chicago and married Marian, who became a second mother to Margaret and Marilyn. Their small family of four grew to 12 as they welcomed eight brothers and sisters. With them, today, we remember and celebrate Margaret’s life among us.

In her own words, Margaret tells us, “I graduated from St. Gertrude School in 1946 and Immaculata High School in 1950. After attending Mundelein College for three years, on Sept. 8, 1953, I entered the BVM congregation.”

From the first day following her profession of vows in 1956 until 1972, Margaret’s classroom teaching career spanned all grades from second through high school, in Iowa, California, Nebraska and Chicago. From 1972–85 Margaret served as a curriculum consultant in mathematics for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. In later years, Margaret served at Malcolm X College and worked in adult literacy programs in Chicago’s Lawndale and Little Village communities, and finally served for 12 years as a donor relations specialist for Mercy Home. In retirement, Margaret served in volunteer ministry at St. Gertrude Parish in Chicago.

For us who gather today, Margaret’s leave-taking was abrupt. In the midst of planning and arranging for her and Marilyn’s move to Mount Carmel, Margaret felt the beginnings of a mild stroke or TIA and while apparently asleep in the taxi taking her to Northwestern Hospital, quietly went home to her God. As Margaret long wished, in a few short weeks, we will welcome Marilyn to her new home at Mount Carmel.

When asked how she wanted “to be remembered” Margaret wrote, “Say that I was someone who cared deeply about her family, who lived her adult life as a Catholic sister committed to her BVM congregation and its ministry, who ends her life peaceably waiting to return to God, the one who brought her into existence.”

Margaret’s twin Marilyn, when asked what her clearest memory of Margaret is, said that “there was no pretense about Margaret. She was always herself. You always knew what she was thinking.”

Margaret’s only final wish was to “donate my body to science, to be an organ donor as circumstances permit.” To that end, she consigned her body after death to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. When available, Margaret’s ashes will be sent to Mount Carmel.