Obituary: Sister Margaret Anne (Peggie) Merritt, O.P.

Sister Peggie
Sister Peggie

Sister Margaret Anne (Peggie) Merritt, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic, Amityville, L.I., for 60 years, died Aug. 16. She was 79.

Born in Brooklyn to Martin and Evelyn Sheridan Merritt, Sister Peggie entered the novitiate at Queen of the Rosary, Amityville, on Sept. 10, 1955. One year later, she received her habit and religious name, Sister Martin Anne. She pronounced final vows on Aug. 8, 1957.

For almost 60 years, Sister Peggie’s ministry was dedicated to elementary education. She taught at Our Lady of Solace, Coney Island; Cure of Ars, Merrick, L.I.; Little Flower, Montauk Beach, L.I.; St. Joseph Patron, Bushwick; and Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, Woodside.

In 1971, she became principal of St. Pius V, Jamaica, and later served as principal at Incarnation, Queens Village. She was principal of St. Michael/St. John Neumann School, East New York, 1979-2011.

From 1978 to 1989, Sister Peggie ministered at T.O.P.S. (Time, Opportunity, Peace, Support) For You, a Bushwick-based nonprofit, where she and Sister Betty Nickels lived in community with homeless young women trying to improve their lives.

She helped organize and served as treasurer of the Catholic Urban Educators, an association of religious sisters and brothers who met annually in Chicago to develop teaching methods to assist in working with minority children and their families.

St. Michael’s parish was an early member of the East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), and Sister Peggie supported EBC’s mission to build low-income homes in East New York and Brownsville. She and Sister Sheila Buhse lived in one of the homes and ministered to the community for 26 years.

While serving at St. Michael’s, Sister Peggie visited families in their homes, ministered to those in the hospital, accompanied parishioners to night court and provided opportunities for teenage girls in the parish to work among the poor in Mexico.

In retirement, she was a fundraiser for Futures in Education, writing letters of appeal to Catholic school alumni and raising thousands of dollars to defray tuition costs for families.

She is survived by her sister Clare.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Aug. 20 at the Motherhouse in Amityville. Burial followed in the Sisters’ cemetery.