LEFT: Sister Margaret McCarthy tutoring a high school student in Juneau.
RIGHT: Sister Margaret traveled thousands of miles to bring the faith to isolated villages, like Pelican, Alaska.
"The Rugged Landscape of Alaska Was a Shock"
In 1972, at the age of 40, Sister Margaret McCarthy left behind her homeland, family, convent and beloved teaching post in Ireland to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a missionary. She was sent to Alaska, where the rugged landscape and variety of religious and ethnic groups were a shock to her. According to a 1987 Extension magazine story, “her desire to help overcame her need for the familiar.”
When she received the Lumen Christi Award in 1987, she had spent 15 years serving in nearly every mission area of the Diocese of Juneau, working as a pastoral leader, a friend to the poor and incarcerated, and a staff member in a soup kitchen and shelter. She traveled hundreds of miles every month, sometimes taking all-night ferry rides or small float planes to minister to people in far-flung, isolated villages. Because of her dedication to “go where the need is,” she later left Alaska to serve in Bolivia.