May 8, 1904 – March 14, 1998
“A thirst is my soul for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?” Psalm 42:5
Countless were the times that Sister Mary Angus prayed these words in the Liturgy of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. On the morning of March 14th, in a fatal automobile accident, she received the answer as she was summoned HOME for life eternal with God and all the blessed.
Earthly life for Sister Mary Angus began in St. Charles, Michigan on May 8, 1904 when she became the first child born to John and Margaret Vogan Black. Five sisters and one brother were to join the Black family later. Her parents were from Ontario Canada, and Sister was ever so proud of her Scotch and Irish ancestry. On May 13, 1904 she was privileged to have been baptized by the saintly and zealous Father Alphonsus Studer at St. Mary Church, St. Charles and was given the name of Margaret Ann, but she was always known as Marguerite. Her First Holy Communion and Confirmation were both on May 18, 1912 at St. Mary Church. Bishop H.J. Richter confirmed her.
Marguerite’s education was at St. Mary School where she was taught by our Sisters. This contact and living across the street from the convent, acquainted her with the Grand Rapids Dominicans. From her autobiography we learn that the Holy Spirit was very active in her life. She wrote, “At an early age I heard the voice of the Master calling me to a religious vocation. I prayed very hard for my vocation as we were taught in school but often wished that my vocation would not be to a convent for I feared that I was not good enough to be a Sister. I finished a commercial course at St. Mary’s and went to work still hearing that call, yet hoping to escape it. I was a daily Communicant and when I saw and heard at every turn that the convent was my place, I made up my mind to go.” This decision was not easy for Marguerite.
Her parents were overjoyed as they were praying daily for a religious vocation in the family and would gladly have given all their children to the service of God. It was on November 10, 1923 that she became a postulant at Marywood with Sister Loyola Finn as her mistress. Her Reception was on August 20, 1924 at which time she received the name of Sister Mary Angus of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Fittingly she received the name of “Angus” an Irish saint. Her First Profession of Vows was made to Mother Benedicta O’Rourke on August 24, 1926.
Sister Mary Angus was always happy in her apostolate of housekeeping/food service director. She wrote, “Serving the Community in food service has been the role I most enjoyed.” She also described it as, “Serving God through the people I serve.” Bountifully and well did God bless her fifty-five years as a Food Service Director. She derived special joy from preparing a festive meal. What a wonderful baker she was! Those who attended the Holy Rosary Academy Festivals for years, remember her much sought after “dilly bread.” All were welcome in her kitchen where there were always some snacks available.
Mission life for Sister Mary Angus began at three convents named after St. Joseph: in Grand Rapids, Bay City, and Saginaw. Not only was St. Joseph the good provider during her beginning years, but through the years which took her to the following places: Sacred Heart, Merrill; the Merrill Home, St. Mary, and Mt. Carmel, Saginaw; St. John, Essexville; St. Stephen, Aquinas College, St. Alphonsus, and Marywood in Grand Rapids; St. Mary, Muskegon; St. Michael, Maple Grove; Guadalupe General Hospital in Santa Rosa, New Mexico; Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City, and St. Francis, Traverse City.
The sixteen years Sister Mary Angus served at Aquinas College were some of the more challenging years in food service where she served the students at three different locations. In 1943 she began on Ransom Street. With the purchase of the Robinson Road Campus in 1945, the cafeteria was on the ground floor of the administration building in very cramped quarters. Her next move in 1955 was to the new beautiful Administration Building. How she would have enjoyed the spacious Wege Student Center food facilities!
In 1980 Sister Mary Angus’ residence and apostolate became Mt. Carmel, Saginaw where her job description read, “Parish and Convent Services.” This was her apostolate until 1992 when she came to Marywood. The convent annals for one of her years there give an excellent description of her involvement: “Sister Mary Angus helped create a home through efforts to clean, bake, can and make preserves as well as prepare an evening meal. She also had homemade bread and soup on hand with other goodies for lunches and for guests. The wider family of God’s people were fed spiritually and actually through her preparation for the noon day Liturgies, serving as Eucharistic Minister, assistance in the preparation and serving of dinners following funerals in the parish, the annual spaghetti dinner, Sunday dinner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for our local street people and not least, fresh bread for local regional meetings of our Sisters.”
The above is by no means exhaustive, and it hardly sounds like a retired person’s agenda! Then, too, she never lost her interest in baseball as she endeavored to pray and cheer the Tigers to victory. Perhaps what she enjoyed most was bagpipe music, and her Diamond Jubilee in 1984 was a “real Scotch” celebration with bagpipes and all.
Having lost a treasured friend, Sister Faith Mahoney, just two weeks previously, Sister Mary Angus along with Sisters Dolorita Martinez and Marie Emile Rivard were headed to Saginaw to finish closing Sister Faith’s apartment. For Sister Mary Angus it was also putting closure on this phase of her life with a dear friend. But Jesus was walking with them as they journeyed along M-46 and, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Sister Mary Angus, called finally to see the face of God, found her heart burning with love as she entered God’s eternal embrace.
Sister Mary Angus is survived by her sisters Mrs. Veronica McKenna of Saginaw and Augusta (Mrs. Douglas Howard) of Midland; her sister-in-law, Maurine Black of Lake Tarmohawk, Wisconsin; three generations of nieces and nephews, and many friends.
Entered eternal life on March 14, 1998 at the age of 93 after 73 years of religious life
We commend Sister Mary Angus to your prayers.