Margaret Kennedy, SNJM
Margaret, the oldest child and only daughter of Thomas and Eleanor Kennedy, has two brothers, Tom and Tim. Perhaps the seeds of Margaret’s vocation were there in her very early public school years, when she announced to the teacher that she was Margaret “Catholic” Kennedy – though her parents had named her Margaret Catherine. Margaret’s vocation was influenced by her family life with not only her parents and brothers, but also her maternal grandmother, with whom she shared a room and attended daily mass from the third grade on.
Although it was an hour and a half bus ride from her home, Margaret attended Holy Names High School in Oakland, where she was influenced by several Sisters who patiently answered her many questions about religious life and guided her in prayer and discernment even before she entered the community at Los Gatos in 1960. Margaret began her ministry as a teacher in junior high in three schools before serving three years as principal at St. Bede’s in Hayward and then six years teaching high school at St. Andrew’s, Pasadena and Ramona Convent. She found these years, when the California Province was deeply engaged in a renewal program, a time to learn skills of listening and working with others to shape a more inclusive, open, “apostolic” religious community. In her six years in province leadership, she was able to develop her organization and facilitation skills in community.
This experience and an M.S. in administration from Notre Dame University led to a variety of positions -- administrator at the convent in Los Gatos, teacher and administrator at Holy Names High School in Oakland, and co-founder of Next Step Learning Center in Oakland – before she was called to serve on our congregational leadership team. (Margaret treasures the opportunities that both province and congregational leadership offered her.)
She is grateful for her visits to Peru and Lesotho, and she continues to be inspired by the faith and commitment of the Sisters there, their devotion to the people they serve, and their untiring efforts to educate, comfort and support them in their joys and challenges. (Margaret had the privilege of accompanying both of her parents on their final journeys – a time that enabled her to grow closer to her brothers and to learn again from her parents the lessons of patience, compassion, gratitude and faith.) Lasting friendships with Sisters from California and throughout the congregation have brought her great joy and blessings through the years.