Sister Margaret (Peg) Purtell

The call to radical discipleship invites us to respond with great hope to uncertain conditions, thereby enriching our lives with diverse experiences through the people we serve. Sister Margaret (Peg) Purtell responded to this call to minister to people across geographical boundaries.

mpurtell_lgBorn in Brooklyn, New York, Sister Margaret Purtell was employed by the New York telephone company before entering Maryknoll in 1951. She professed her first vows three years later.

From 1955 to 1958 Sister Peg studied for her B.S. in nursing at the College of St. Teresa in Minnesota. She was then assigned to Queen of the World Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, the first integrated hospital in America, where she served as Operating Room Supervisor and Assistant Director of Nurses.

Her first mission assignment came in 1963, when she eagerly set out for Korea. There Sister Peg studied language at the Korean Language Institute of Yonsei University before helping to set up an operating room at the Maryknoll hospital in Pusan.

Beginning in 1967, Sister Peg studied for her M.Ed. in Nursing at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College in New York. On graduating, she was assigned to two years of service in Taiwan as an observer and consultant at the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei.

Sister Peg then returned to the U.S. in 1971, where she dedicated herself to promotional and mission awareness work in the Eastern U.S. until her reassignment to Korea in 1973. Sister Peg faithfully and joyfully ministered to the people of Pusan and Seoul for another six years.

On her final return to the Maryknoll Center in 1979, Sister continued to serve in various capacities: as a clinic nurse, a member of the Information Systems Office, and a coordinator of a Maryknoll retreat and vacation house in R.I. Since her retirment in 2005 she has remained a generous volunteer wherever she is needed at the Center.

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