Sr. Madeline Gallagher – 70 Years
Sister Madeline was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and knew the Mission Helpers from her high school days. She took catechism classes with them, joined their lay group known as the Guild, and studied for her religious teaching certificate under their guidance.
“The Lord called me to religious life very strongly, she says. “I had thought I would get married and have a dozen kids, but at some point the Lord said, ‘No, I’ll be your spouse.’ I heard those words in my heart.”
Her ministry began with census-taking in parishes in Michigan and Kentucky, followed by teaching religion in North Carolina. In Texas she taught Mexican-American children without knowing any Spanish and lived and taught in a former Army barracks that had no heat or air conditioning.
Sister Madeline taught “The Adaptive Way” methods classes in Virginia and Pennsylvania and served as Director of Religious Education and pastoral associate at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston.
Following the Cathedral, she began working with Boston social service agencies. Her work included being health care proxy for people without close relatives. “This involved caring for the homeless,” she explains. “You might say I was a “streetwalker for the Lord.’”
She later became a pastoral associate with Boston’s Chinese Catholic Community and an integral part of the group’s leadership team.
Over the years, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Loyola University Maryland and a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate from Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.
Sister Madeline moved back to Baltimore in 2010, and for the last six years has been living at Fatima House, a rent-assisted apartment complex for seniors, part of Catholic Charities Senior Housing Services, located in East Baltimore adjacent to Our Lady of Fatima church.
There, along with Sister Denise LaBonte, MHSH, Sister Madeline quickly established herself as a welcome member of the Fatima community. She helps residents with food shopping and medical visits, calls on residents and cares for those with minor medical conditions. She’s part of a Bible Study group and is an active member of the Fatima parish, serving as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and taking Communion to homebound parishioners and residents.
“Living among these people has deepened my awareness of our ‘heart to heart’ ministry and opened me to the Spirit working within each individual.”