Margaret Spiller, SNJM (RIP 2/6/16)
Miriam Malone, SNJM
My SNJM story began long before I was formed in mother’s womb.
The entry in Chronicles Sacred Heart Convent in Oakland for June 11, 1897 reads:
Mrs. Ives is a former pupil of the “Ladies of the Sacred Heart.” … Her simplicity, her piety and spirit of faith make her seek the care of religious for the training of her children. It is the third time that her little girls are brought to us during vacation. This year we regret that the privilege must be denied our dear friend, as the little angel she bears in her arms cannot be trained to Convent discipline. However, charity demanded a breach of the rule for a few days. The case was simply this – the house retained for her while she was yet in Arizona was found to have been infected with measles. Consequently, Mother Provincial, whose charity is well-known, gave her hospitality with her little family until other arrangements could be made for a comfortable lodging. We expect that her two eldest daughters, Annette and Cora, will come to our Boarding school, while little Helen and baby Miriam will grow in years under the tender care of their dear mother.
Mrs. Ives was my Great-Grandmother, “Little Helen” was my Grandmother Malone, and the “little angel” in arms who “cannot not be trained to Convent discipline” was my Great Aunt Miriam, after whom I am named!
The Ives family moved to Shorb (Alhambra) where their home was on the property adjacent to Ramona Convent. Ramona’s Chronicles tell stories of neighborly interaction between the Sisters and the Ives family.
Recently I discovered that in 1883, my cousin Mary Ives made her first profession as a Sister of the Holy Names, and was known as Sister Mary Agnes. A recognized play-write, her ministries included an assignment as Principal in Key West where she oversaw the building of the parish school. Later she became one of the foundresses of Outremont Convent.
My Mother grew up in St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Altadena, an SNJM parish and then attended Ramona Convent High School with her friend Ann Malone. Ann had an older brother, Eugene Ives Malone, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy. “Madge and Gene,” who lived a 60+ year love-story, married and on January 28, 1946 in Key West, I was born the eldest of four girls and one boy.
I am forever indebted to my parents for providing a stable, loving home despite the frequent moves the U.S. Navy required. They sacrificed to provide a Catholic education that led me to Ramona where the Sisters gave me what my mother called “a scholarship of love.” It was at Ramona that I recognized the desire to become a member of their community.
Those of us who entered the community in 1963 were caught in the middle of pre and post-Vatican Church, the Viet Nam era, and the social revolution of the 60s. It was at once challenging and exciting to grow into adulthood in religious life during those years. Inspired by Vatican II theology, I found my path in religious education, liturgical formation, and pastoral ministry. After completing my post-graduate work, I spent many years facilitating the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults throughout the country, and in the formal education of pastoral ministers. Most recently, my childhood dream of becoming a nurse has been transformed into the grace and privilege of pastoral ministry with our elder and infirm Sisters.
For me, life continues to be “Live the questions now,” (Rilke) and Jubilee is “Magnificat” in the Mystery.