Tell us about your growing up years and family.
The blessed moment happened on March 15, 1930, during the depression. I was born Mary Margaret Boos into a family of three (my mother, father, and brother). We lived together in what was the largest logging camp town in the United States, located in Ryderwood, Washington. I was baptized on May 10, which was the same date as the founder of our congregation. I’ve always believed I was baptized a Franciscan because my family belonged to a Franciscan mission, with 3 churches served by the Franciscan friars from Santa Barbara. Of those I knew in Ryderwood, three of us were Catholic and two of us joined our Franciscan Order. I still remember all my teachers from grade school and still keep in touch with some. In the 1930s and 1940s in Ryderwood, we were taught only what we enjoyed the most. So, I learned a lot of math, but I didn’t read well and didn’t study any science.
Please share a favorite story about your early community service.
I entered our community in September of 1948, soon after graduating from high school. While in the novitiate, I completed two years of college and professed my vows in 1951. I finished college at Mount St. Mary’s to become a teacher. My favorite school was St. Josephs in Los Angeles where I taught first grade. The children in my classes there were so precious! They didn’t speak much English but soon learned it. One day, as I was putting away books in a cupboard in the classroom, I said to myself, “If I have to teach ‘Run Dick Run’ for the rest of my life, I’ll go crazy.” It was at that point that I realized my mistake. A teacher doesn’t teach subjects; a teacher teaches children. So, for the next 2 weeks, I taught what they liked the best: printing, singing, art, and listening to stories. After that break from regular coursework, we returned to other subjects, especially learning to read and write in English. The Mexican children at St. Joseph’s taught me to be a real teacher. After 14 years of teaching, I became a principle at several other schools for the next 16 years.
Why did you decide to become a sister?
After the 8th grade, I went to boarding school at St. Mary’s Academy. The teachers were all Franciscan sisters who I enjoyed and admired. My favorite Franciscan there was a sister who emigrated from Germany and took care of us in the dormitory. She would defend our misbehavior publicly and correct us privately. I loved to watch the sisters praying in the chapel, especially before Mass every morning.
How do you share your Franciscan values and spirituality now?
I have been a Franciscan for 70 years. I’ve had a good life! My simplicity and poverty may not be obvious, but I hope that others know how happy I am. I smile at them, greet them, and love this place where I live with my sisters and staff.
What would you like us to know about being a Franciscan?
After my educational career, I worked in records for eleven years in a laser company in the medical division. I quit working at the laser company when it was sold. During that time, I accepted a wonderful job as a registrar assistant in charge of records and assigning substitute teachers at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California, a place of great belonging. Once there, you always belong. It’s a Holy Cross Brothers high school. I left there when I was 80 years old, but it will always be a home to me. After that, I didn’t have a job for a little while, so I volunteered at the catholic hospital in San Jose cuddling babies, which I did for 4 years and loved it dearly. When the hospital was sold, I moved to Santa Maria, where I continued to cuddle babies at our own hospital Marian Regional Medical Center. Each one melted my heart and left an emblem on me. The easiest part of cuddling is loving the babies.
Please share a favorite quote or verse.
There are many inspiring words to remember. I often repeat the words of our foundress, Mother Magdalen: God is good, so very good. I hope to die saying that.