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SXU Mourns the Loss of Sister Margaret Mary Knittel '68, R.S.M.


Saint Xavier University (SXU) mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Sister Margaret Mary Knittel '68, R.S.M., D.Min. Sister Margaret Mary, who passed on September 8, the anniversary of her entrance into religious life, served on SXU's Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1981 and then again from 2011 to 2019. During her time as a member of the Board of Trustees, Sister Margaret Mary exerted significant leadership and was a valuable asset to multiple academic committees. She also served as one of four co-chairs on the Scholarship Ball Committee in 2016.  

"Sister Margaret shared her wisdom and humor with us from 2010 to 2019. It was a real pleasure to be on the Board with such a kind and giving woman," said Patricia Morris '83, Ph.D., chair of the SXU Board of Trustees.

Sister Margaret Mary attended Rosary College and lived a dedicated 58 ministerial years as a Sister of Mercy, serving on many governing boards related to the ministries of the Sisters of Mercy. Her ministry was centered in the Diocese of Rockford, where she served in the diocesan office for adult education and faith formation. She shared her gifts within four dioceses – Peoria, Rockford, Chicago and Joliet. She worked in educational institutions, parishes, hospitals, corporate boards and other non-profit ministries.

"Shaping what Sister Margaret did –which was legion—is who she was as a person: a compassionate, caring, creative and deeply spiritual person, steeped in Mercy and justice of the God she loved. To know Margaret Mary Knittel is to know and appreciate God's wisdom speaking to the creative uniqueness of every human being," said Sister Sheila Megley '68, R.S.M., Ph.D., member of the SXU Board of Trustees.

As an active writer, she employed her talents at A Commitment to All (ACTA) religious and spiritual publications and in grant writing for Mercy Hospital. She was also part of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a scholar of the poetry of Emily Dickinson. She published poetry, memoirs and research in academic journals, magazines and books. 

Sister Margaret Mary was heavily involved in volunteer memberships and pursued advanced degrees in human resources and ethics and ministry, including a Doctor of Ministry from the Chicago Theological Seminary. She served as the pioneering director for the first Human Resources Office at Saint Xavier in 1981, where she initially started as an intern to the president in Labor Relations and Personnel Practices.

"Sister Margaret and I worked together at Saint Xavier in the early '80s. We worked on a committee to computerize the college, which was at the dawn of the PC age. She was always bright, lively and creative, as well as a good listener. She will be missed," said Tom Wogan Sr., major gifts officer for Mercy Circle and former Saint Xavier director of advancement.   

Over the years, Sister Mary Margaret offered leadership and faithful dedication to the Mercy ideals of the University, beginning when she received her Master of Arts in Education from Saint Xavier in 1968 and continuing until she completed her board service in 2019.

"Sister Margaret Mary Knittel exemplified the employing of one's educational advantage for a mission beyond oneself so true to the mission of Saint Xavier University. She manifested a competency in all she did and offered her life in service to a social vision that aimed at making a better world," said Avis Clendenen, Ph.D., professor emeritus of religious studies. "May her life inspire our own to embrace that mission that can make all the difference."