Sr Margaret Hogan: a lifetime of love and dedication
IF YOU were a boarder or student at St Mary's College in Grafton during 50s and 60s you would probably remember Sr Margaret Hogan or more accurately Sister Mary Kosta as she was professed.
The 96-year-old Sister of Mercy and resident of St Michael's Nursing Home in Casino passed away on February 26, ending 77 years of dedication to her order.
Sr Margaret spent 14 of those years as administrator and Mistress of the Boarder at St Mary's College in Grafton, the 'loco parentis' as she was described in her eulogy delivered at her funeral in Casino on March 6.
Margaret Aileen Hogan was the second eldest of seven children born on January 20, 1922 in Casino to parents Lynda and Patrick Hogan.
She grew up at Doubtful Creek attending Stratheden Public School and St Mary's Casino secondary school before entering the convent at Grafton in 1939 aged 17 and professed as a Sister of Mercy two years later. Her sisters Kate, Dorothy and Monica all joined her in the vocation.
Sr Margaret gained her BRCT Teaching Certificate she began her career in education at primary level Grafton before moving into secondary teaching.
Her areas of ministry were varied - 40 years in both primary and secondary schools throughout the diocese, 10 years as principal at St. Pius X High School Kempsey and founding principal at St Paul's College where she worked closely with indigenous students and their families, the Grafton years at St Mary's, Local Superior which included hospitality to many in the house in Stanmore, and at age 66 became Visitation, Parish Associate in the Cowper parish and in Bangalow.
Sr Margaret returned to Casino in 2007 and engaged enthusiastically in visitation in the parish especially to the elderly at St Michael's and to many young mothers in the area.
She was also loving aunt to a number of little Hogans, her brother Patrick, who married later in life, producing six children who were also central to Margaret's world. Now with their own families they defined their aunty at her service as "the youngest, old lady we knew, an expert at keeping in touch and putting her love into action, and always genuinely interested in you.”
Sr Margaret also had a great love for and offered strong support to her 'boarders' who became Mercies along with her former students, many of whom were also present at her funeral. She was always interested and concerned for their well-being. "A strong, gentle presence, her smile well remembered as was her eye for detail,” her eulogy read.
"At the same time she was honest and a straight shooter. She believed in justice for all. Margaret could 'sniff out' those who needed some extra care.
"She had an unstinting commitment to the Sisters of Mercy and to the Institute.
"Margaret was an example of ageing graciously and gracefully. She always saw the positive in everything. She prayed, loved and laughed, she embraced and inspired us to be our best selves.
"Even as she aged and her health declined Margaret continued to reach out to people. Although diminishing physically she herself did not diminish, she never lost the essence of who she really was.”