150+ Canadians Day 100: Peggy Flanagan

Sister Peggy Flanagan wrote both poetry and challenging letters to the editor and parliamentarians about issues of war and peace. #Canada150 

“Live in hope. Call one another to the freedom of living in peace. Do not despair. United in communal hope, we create a collective energy.”

Born in Newmarket in 1938, Peggy Flanagan grew up in the small Ontario community of Schomberg.

After attending Teachers’ College in Toronto, Peggy entered the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston where, after the novitiate, she returned to her teaching career. She taught in several Kingston Catholic schools, and assumed the responsibility of principal in a number of these schools. While teaching she attended summer school at the University of Ottawa and graduated with a B.A. in 1971. In the 1980s she studied for her Masters of Theological Studies Regis College in Toronto.

Sister Peggy was a committed and dedicated promoter for peace and social justice.  She did this in the classroom but through her poetry, and through her challenging letters to the editor of local and national newspapers and parliamentarians.  Her motto was, “Live simply and love greatly.”

In the 1970’s she was missioned to Winnipeg, Manitoba to care for emotionally disturbed boys and opened a group home for developmentally handicapped children. In 1989 she helped to establish a self-help group for Adult Children of Alcoholics in the Kingston area.

She was elected in 1989 to a five-year term on the Leadership Team of the Congregation. After completing her term on the Council she had a ten month sabbatical during which she took a facilitator’s course and was able to experience living alone, painting and writing.

She was then asked to take over as General Secretary, a position she held from 1995 – 2002. Following this she continued to be involved with prison ministry and was active on Congregational Committees including Healing Violence and Responsible Sharing (which allotted monies to various projects dealing with peace, poverty reduction, food security, women and children). She was also a faithful (Peace) Vigil Keeper at City Hall every Friday for several years. Sister Peggy, who had a zest for life, blended humility with an intense commitment to make things better for the marginalized of society.

Some of Peggy’s journal entries of 2008 include:

Feb. 6 – Pray and fast every day deliberately and consciously for new miracles of peace – peace within hearts, within families, within communities, nations, worlds. Pray and fast for economic and political conversion into God’s reign of peace and justice.

Mar. 19 – Pray for an increase of love, love that runs over into a violent world. Pray for zeal, for a passion for peace within and without.

March 27 – Your vocation is to be a messenger of peace and a defender of life. Refuse to believe that death has the last word. The Spirit lives and touches you and others through you.

May 10 – Peace is given to those who make peace.

July 11 – Every act of kindness, or forgiving, or of love, sends healing energy through the entire network of creation.

Oct. 11 – Every day breathe in gratitude and peace.

Oct. 15 – The gifts of the Spirit are love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Claim them all!  Live by the Spirit and be guided by the Spirit.

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