Sister Margaret Mertens, formerly Sister Mary, entered religious life in 1953 from St. Stanislaus parish in Wardsville, MO. She credits the Sisters who taught her in school—particularly Sister Mary William Haug, CDP and Sister Mary Ann Haug, CDP (her 7th and 8th grade teachers)—with influencing her decision to enter religious life.
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 (1956–1957), Ascension School in Normandy, MO (1957–1959; 1965–1972), St. Mary’s School in Madison, IL (1959–1962) and Mount Providence School in Normandy, MO (1962–1965). She served as principal and teacher at St. Mary’s School in Brussels, IL (1972–1978) and at St. John School in Imperial, MO (1978–1984).
Sister Margaret served at Mount Providence motherhouse as the local superior (1985), co-director (1987) and as the formation/vocation director (1988–1994). 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.
From 2008 to 2010, Sister Margaret ministered to and lived with the retired Sisters at St. Clare’s Villa in Alton, IL. In 2010, she moved to what was then the Sisters of Divine Providence Novitiate House in Granite City, IL, to assist the novitiate director. In 2011, Sister Margaret became the area assistant and vocation director for St. Louis. Since 2013, Sister Margaret has served as the site coordinator and driver for La Posada.
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.”
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