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Sister Margaret Busscher (Sister Ambrose)
Born: December 12, 1919
Died: January 1, 2016
What is it like to be youngest in a family of seven children – four boys and three girls? We asked Sister Margaret Busscher that question. Her response was, “Great!,” and then she proceeded to tell us about her life. Her parents were George and Katherine Busscher who were both Catholics and of German and Bohemian descent. They lived in Skokie, Illinois, where her father worked in real estate and her mother was the loving homebody who took care of the children. Margaret was born on December 12, 1919, and is the last survivor of the family.
Sister Margaret had a very normal, happy childhood and was more than a little spoiled, being the baby of the family. The Busscher family lived near St. Peter’s Catholic School where all the children attended until eighth grade graduation. St. Peter’s was staffed by the School Sisters of St. Francis. After graduation, Margaret enrolled at Alvernia High School, Chicago, which was also taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis. In order to get to school, Margaret took the El (elevated train) into Chicago and then two buses. She was always proud to say that in all the four years at Alvernia she missed only two days. She was an excellent student, loved school and, of course, loved the sisters.
It was at the senior class play that Margaret asked Sister Lois for a favor. “Please tell my mother that I want to be a sister.” As expected, her mother did not want her youngest child to leave home, but she would not stand in her way. Margaret entered St. Joseph Convent in time to register for the fall semester at Alverno. Reception into the School Sisters of St. Francis was the summer of 1938. She was given the name of Sister Ambrose.
After completing her college education, Sister Margaret was asked to go to Pius XI High School in Milwaukee to teach Latin and English with absolutely no methods courses or practice teaching experience. Being the determined person that she was, Margaret did a great job. When the secretary in the school office had to leave, Sister Margaret was asked to manage the School Office. Again with no special preparation, just a few words from her superior: “You can do it, and you will learn on the job.” Learn she did, and did it well for the next 26 years.
At the time the community organized provinces, Sister Margaret was asked to be the secretary for the Wisconsin Province and then later for the United States Provincial Offices. She gracefully served 10 different Provincial teams. Sister Margaret was always able to accept changes and re-organize after each new team took office and this was no small feat.
Many living groups and Provincial teams remember Margaret’s numerous creative stories, poems or spoofs on community life. Each time Sister Margaret was asked to another job, she smiled, wondered and said, “I am still waiting for a career for which I am prepared!” Through all these various jobs, she also said she would do it all over again.
Finally, in 2004 at the age of 85, Sister Margaret did retire, but did not really slow down. She continued cooking the evening meal for six sisters, once a week did the grocery shopping, helped with the cleaning, and whatever else needed to be done.
As her health declined and she needed more care, she decided to retire at Sacred Heart Convent. Here she kept her mind active by reading the daily paper, playing Scrabble and enjoying good conversation.
Sister Margaret, you were always so faithful in whatever and wherever you were during your long life. We are so very grateful and filled with love for you. Go now, Sister Margaret, and receive the rewards of your labors. You definitely prepared for your final career of eternal happiness. By:Sister M. Louette Guenther