Sister Margaret Mertens, formerly Sister Mary, entered religious life in 1953. She credits the Sisters who taught her in grade school with influencing her decision to become a Sister.
She earned a bachelor of science in American Studies from Marillac College and a master’s degree in elementary administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She taught at Annunciation School in California, Mo. (1956–57), Ascension School in Normandy, Mo. (1957–59; 65–72), St. Mary’s School in Madison, Ill. (1959–62), and Mount Providence School in Normandy, Mo. (1962–65). She served as principal and teacher at St. Mary’s School in Brussels, Ill. (1972–78) and at St. John School in Imperial, Mo. (1978–84).
Sister Margaret served at Mount Providence motherhouse as the local superior (1985), co-director (1987), and as the formation/vocation director (1988–94). In 1995, she became program director at La Posada Providencia, in San Benito, Tx. La Posada is an emergency shelter for immigrants, asylum seekers, and asylees seeking legal refuge in the United States. To learn the Spanish language and Mexican-American culture, she studied at Florissant Valley Community College in St. Louis, and entered a language immersion experience for women in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a result of her language education and her ministry in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Sister Margaret is fluent in Spanish and international, intercultural communications.
She also ministered to and lived with the retired Sisters at St. Clare’s Villa in Alton, Ill., from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, she moved to what was then the Sisters of Divine Providence Novitiate House in Granite City, Ill., to assist the novitiate director. Later, in 2011, Sister Margaret became the area assistant and vocation director for the St. Louis area (2011–13). She currently serves her Community by assisting at La Posada Providencia and in the St. Louis area.
In 2013, Sister Margaret celebrated her 60th jubilee. She says of her life as a religious, “I feel I live out the charism of my Community by making Providence more visible in all the places I have served.”