Margaret L. “Maggie” Kvasnicka, CSJ
February 10, 1939 – February 28, 2015
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
Psalm 139: 13-14
When Margaret (Maggie) Kvasnicka was in hospice at Carondelet Village at the end of her earthly life, many people stopped by to thank her. They thanked her for her leadership in the Sisters of St. Joseph, for the beauty she brought to so many through her teaching, her spiritual direction, her dedicated work at Sarah’s …an Oasis for Women, and her unique touch as she prepared for liturgical and prayer celebrations. Maggie was a person who loved life and shared her gifts generously.
Margaret Leona Kvasnicka was born on February 10, 1939, in Kerrick, Minnesota to Winifred (Haley) and Paul Kvasnicka. She grew up in Kerrick and LeSueur with her sister Mary and brothers Michael and Paul. Maggie knew she wanted to be a Sister since she was in second grade. After graduating from LeSueur Public High School, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, Minnesota in the fall of 1956. After a five year process of initiation and education, Maggie began a long life of service of the “dear neighbor” in a variety of settings. For the first seven years of her ministry, she was an elementary teacher in archdiocesan schools. During this time she also volunteered as an organizer for parish Religious Education programs. This led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies at Loyola University of Chicago. With that degree in hand, she became Director of Religious Education in parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She brought new life to Religious Education programs at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Holy Name Parish in Minneapolis and St. Odilia Parish in Shoreview.
During these years (1968-1981) Maggie’s life was also one of ever widening circles. She was a founding member and officer of ACRE, the Association of Coordinators and Religious Educators, a member of the archdiocesan Sisters’ Council, an early member of the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) and founding member of the National Association of Religious Women (NARW). She had significant influence as the first executive director of the Commission on Women in the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In that position she helped design and publish Listening Sessions for women employees of the archdiocese and served as a consultant to emerging Commissions on Women all over the USA.
Her life experiences at this point led her to pursue a second Master’s Degree, this time at the University of San Francisco, California, in Spirituality. Completing that degree in 1978, she continued her work in the archdiocese. She closed out that portion of her life in 1986 by taking a sabbatical, during which she attended a renewal program in Boston, traveled to Europe and Hawaii and made an extensive personal retreat. In 1987, she was ready to begin another phase of her life.
Between 1987 and 1994 Maggie developed a program called “Transitions,” which offered people in mid-life some tools for moving to their next stage. She also became a member of the Province Council and in that role was a founding member of Wisdom Ways: A Resource Center for Spirituality. In 1994, she became a member of the St. Paul Province Leadership Team, a three-person team with shared and equal authority and responsibility.
Once her term in leadership was completed, Maggie had a short sabbatical and moved to a ministry that was close to her heart. She became the Director of Sarah’s …an Oasis for Women, a residence for women in transition seeking housing, safety, education and community. These are women who have experienced violence, homelessness and poverty, and at Sarah’s they have opportunities to start a new life. The role of Director tapped into many of Maggie’s skills; she was administrator, spiritual director, educator, and homemaker, to name a few. This work was very important to her.
After Maggie completed her time at Sarah’s in 2010, she became Coordinator of Ritual and Liturgy services for the St. Paul Province. She developed this job, as she had developed many of her ministries before this. She served the Province graciously and with an eye for beauty in the liturgical environment. While she was doing this important ministry, she was also chair of the St. Paul Province Government Committee and was serving as a spiritual director for several people.
From 1994 to 1999 and from 2003 to 2012 and again from February 2014 until her death, Maggie was a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Catherine University (formerly the College of St. Catherine). Trustees and administrators sought and treasured her insight, counsel and support. To honor Maggie’s vast contributions as a member of the Board of Trustees, upon her death she was immediately designated trustee emerita by her trustee colleagues. She also served on the Board of the Academy of Holy Angels.
Maggie recognized beauty everywhere and in everyone and brought beauty to everyone she met. She prized participation, collaboration and team work. She was a compassionate and wise listener. Above all, relationships were the heart and center of her life.
Maggie was preceded in death by her parents, Winifred and Paul, and by her sister, Mary Rausch and Mary’s husband, Mark Rausch. She is survived by her brothers and sisters-in-law Mike and Ruth Kvasnicka and Paul and Ann Kvasnicka, nieces Lynn, Lisa, Leslie, Peggy, Patti, Michelle, and Catherine, nephews Tim, Joe, Jay, Jeff, Marty and Matt, thirty-one grandnieces and nephews, dear friend Joan McGinty, CSJ and by the Sisters of St. Joseph and Consociates. Mass of Christian Burial was held on March 4, 2015 at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel in St. Paul. Interment was at Resurrection Cemetery
“Blessed is she who has believed that God would fulfill promises to her!”