Sister Mary Sebastian Gilleran

Margaret Gilleran
1880 - 1957

Sister Mary Sebastian died Wednesday night, May 29th, in the Marian Infirmary, Providence Mother House, Heathfield. Margaret Gilleran was born in Brockville, daughter of James Gilleran and Mary Fee. At an early age she became associated with her Sisters at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital, and soon decided to join the Community in Kingston. In October 1899 she had her desire fulfilled when she was accepted as a candidate for the Novitiate of the Sisters of Providence.

In those days we had in the Institute Tertiary or Third Order Sisters and to this group Sister M. Sebastian belonged. She spent nine years as a Tertiary before these Sisters were incorporated into the community in 1908. The following year she was admitted to the Novitiate and made profession in 1910.

For fifty-six years Sister gave generous services to her Community, and was an indefatigable worker in any department to which she was assigned. Apart from a few years in Brockville and Perth, her religious life was devoted to the works of the House of Providence. Two years ago in failing health she came to the Infirmary of the Mother House. Even then she never wanted to be idle and was always busy with fancy work, sewing, etc., until the day she died. That same day she was well as usual and in good spirits and attended all the religious exercises and was at night prayer with the Community. In fact she seldom missed her regular devotions or attendance at recreation with the Sisters. Her sudden death was a shock, but we cannot say it was a surprise. We knew, and Sister had known for many years that her heart was failing and we have no doubt but that she was prepared for the sudden call. She knew that she was dying and her last words were an Act of Love. The priest was here in a few minutes, but Sister Mary Sebastian had passed to her eternal home before the anointing was finished.

Two members of her immediate family survive, James in Brockville and Mrs. Philips in Cortland, N.Y. The latter attended the funeral. His Grace Archbishop O’Sullivan offered Solemn Requiem Mass at 9.30 a.m., for the repose of her soul. Burial was in St. Mary’s cemetery. R.I.P. Sister was in the fifty-sixth year of her religious life. May her soul rest in peace!

Addendum – Compiled by the Archives on June 17, 2015

Margaret Gilleran entered the congregation as a Tertiary Sister in 1899 and was known as Sr. Margaret. Tertiaries were auxiliaries who performed domestic labour and were part of the Congregation from 1895 to 1907, when the program was phased out and they were invited to enter the novitiate. She entered the Novitiate on November 11, 1908.