Remembrance of the life of Sister Margaret Ann Hummel SL
Margaret Ann Hummel was born in Louisville, Ky., on St. Patrick’s Day 1932, just a few minutes after her twin sister, Rose Marie. They were the fourth and fifth children of six born to Norbert Daniel Hummel Sr. and Margaret Maloney Hummel, both Louisville natives. Margaret wrote in her autobiography that her parents fostered in all six children solid family traditions and religious values, in particular: “Appreciation for education, the Church, competitive endeavors, close family ties, service to others and personal commitment and dedication.”
All of the Hummel children were taught by the Sisters of Loretto at St. Benedict Parochial School. According to Margaret, “our family enjoyed a respected and warm association with our pastor and priests and the Sisters assigned to the Parish school. A closer bondedness with the Sisters of Loretto began to develop while I was in the 6th grade when my oldest sister, Mary Jane, entered the Loretto Congregation, October 25, 1944.” Margaret’s next oldest sister, Pat, also entered Loretto, in 1946.
With her twin, Rose Marie, Margaret Ann had four happy years at Loretto High School where, she wrote, “I continued to enjoy the strong academic subjects characteristic of Loretto schools and began to witness more personally the quality and wholesomeness of relationships of sisters and students.” The twins went on together to attend and graduate from Ursuline College. Margaret developed deep loyalty to the teachers and students of both Loretto and Ursuline, supporting both alumnae associations throughout her adult life.
The twins graduated with bachelor of arts degrees from Ursuline College in 1954. While Rose Marie married within a month of graduation, Margaret Ann prepared to enter a religious congregation in Charleston, S.C., the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, founded in 1829 by Bishop John England, the first Bishop of the Charleston Diocese. Margaret entered the community in September 1954. On Aug. 22, 1955, she received the habit and the name Sister Marie Daniel. She made her first vows Aug. 22, 1957 and her final vows Aug. 22, 1959.
For 16 years, Margaret taught and administered in schools, primarily high schools, of the Sisters of Charity in Charleston and Aiken, S.C. Margaret began a graduate degree program in history at Catholic University in 1957 and completed the master’s degree at Villanova University 10 summers later. During these busy years, Margaret wrote, “I became very active in the local city and held memberships in professional and educational associations on the local, state and national levels. (I) continue to hold many warm memories of friends and associates, and I often hear from parents and students who were part of those enriching experiences.”
At age 38, Margaret was elected Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, the youngest woman to hold this position. She served two terms, from 1970 to 1980. Margaret wrote about those years: “In addition to responsibility for seven elementary and two high schools in three states, the Sisters owned and operated a large hospital in Charleston and a hospital and nursing home near Charlotte. …The period of 1970-80 saw multimillion dollar expansion in the two hospitals…widely diverse and innovative religious renewal activities … and the opening of a Center of Spirituality for statewide programs for religious and laypersons.” The decade was crowned with a full year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy and the celebration of Margaret Ann’s silver jubilee as well.
At the end of her term of office, Margaret Ann was invited to spend a year in the Religious Leaders Program at Notre Dame University, a personal renewal program conducted for individuals transitioning from roles in church and congregational leadership. Margaret wrote: “It was really the first time in twenty-one extremely busy years that I actually took time for myself and personal enhancement of life and spirituality and leisure and relaxation. It proved to be one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my life.”
Following her year at Notre Dame, Margaret returned to South Carolina at the request of her community. She wrote, “I enjoyed being back among so many friends and acquaintances but I knew that I could not linger there for any long period of time. At the conclusion of that year, I requested and received an Indult of Exclaustration from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy.”
Returning to Louisville, Margaret took a position with Bellarmine College, first as assistant vice president for external affairs and then as director of the college’s Brown Center for Special Events. After three years’ separation from the Sisters of Charity, Margaret decided to transfer to the Sisters of Loretto. She knew many Sisters through her family connection with Loretto Sisters Mary Jane and Pat, and her Louisville connection with Loretto High School alumnae. During her tenure as Superior General, she had been an active member of LCWR, where she frequently encountered and collaborated with Sisters of Loretto.
The transfer process began on July 1, 1985. On June 25, 1988, Margaret renewed her vows “according to the constitutions of the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.”
In 1987, Margaret began working for the Loretto Development Office from her home in Jeffersontown, Ky. From 1988 to 1996, Margaret Ann served as Loretto’s Director of Development, working out of the Loretto Central Office in Denver. Toward the end of her years in the Denver area, she served two years in parish ministry at Light of the World Parish. In 1998, Margaret Ann returned to Jeffersontown to care for her sister, Loretto Sister Mary Jane Hummel. From 1999 to 2008, she also worked with Loretto High School and Ursuline College alumnae and in 2004 she began serving as the Loretto Community representative on the Project Women Board, an organization begun by women religious and based in Louisville to help single mothers and their children better themselves through education.
Sister Margaret Ann moved in 2008 to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. Sister Margaret Ann died July 26 at Loretto Motherhouse. She was 82 years old, in the 59th year of her vowed life and her 29th year as a Sister of Loretto.
At the conclusion of her autobiography, Margaret Ann wrote in praise of all who have touched her life:
“I count my life as most fortunate and blessed in all the opportunities, personalities, friendships, gifts—both material and spiritual, journeys to so many places, spiritual journeys within my soul, good health enjoyed, endurance of pain, suffering and disappointments. One of the special joys of living in Louisville (and at the Motherhouse) is being embraced by my family. I recall what Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP, said: ‘In the midst of our family bonds, Jesus calls us to follow him, not with the purpose of destroying love, but to enrich it and to transform it.’”