Sister Mary Angel Guardian McGowan

Mary McGowan
1852 - 1879

Mary McGowan entered the Novitiate at the age of twenty three, and from her admission she was remarkable for a gentleness and amiability of character that endeared her both to Superiors and companions.

Her constitution was not strong, and after the taking of the habit, fears of her perseverance were entertained.

Wishing to give her every chance possible, she was allowed to go to the country, for some months, and returned to the Novitiate much invigorated.

Allowed by the Community to make her religious profession, she took the name, Sister Mary Guardian Angel.

Like a frail little flower, which the first breath of winter would blight she moved quietly about doing what her strength permitted, silently regretting that her health was not proportioned to her good will, ever cheerful and uncomplaining. Being sent to the Mission of Holyoke she testified the same good spirit; but her constitution was completely shattered while there, by an illness that seemed the herald of death. The Superior took her home in July, and from this time she sensibly declined.

Her life was too short, and her health too poor, to be marked by anything extraordinary; but if silent, uncomplaining suffering, cheerful endurance of weakness is heroic virtue, she possessed it. Death had no terrors for her; she looked forward to it as one would to a pleasant journey which was to conduct her home.

The thought of meeting God filled her with joy, and she frequently spoke with childlike eagerness, of the joy of those whose sweet privilege it is to contemplate the unveiled countenance of their creator. She was one whom grace peculiarly favoured. Brought into religion before contact with the world tarnished her innocence, she enjoyed the blessed privilege of being espoused to the Divine Lover of chaste souls, who called her to enter the banquet hall of the nuptials, having first purified her by sufferings, though, in her generosity, she asserted that she did not suffer anything. Her disease was a general wasting of the system, which of course caused great weakness.

This with a distressing cough prevented her resting day or night. Having no desire to live, she patiently awaited death to summon her to a better life. Her last agony was long and painful and those who gazed on the scene felt the truth of those words: “If we have not trials in life, they will meet us at death.” She died August 29, 1879 at the age of twenty-seven years, having been a professed member of the Institute four years. Her remains repose in the vault of St. Mary’s Cathedral, there to await the day of “General Resurrection.”