Sister Marguerite Therese Leary, the former mother superior of the Frederick Monastery and past president of Visitation Academy there, died Sunday of complications from old age at her order's monastery in Rockville, Va. She was 92.
Born Margaret Mary Leary in Philadelphia and raised on Springfield Avenue in North Baltimore, she attended the old Baltimore Academy of the Visitation on Park Avenue in downtown Baltimore and graduated from the Frederick Academy in 1933. She entered the cloistered Visitation Order in 1934 and received the name Marguerite Therese.
She served several stints as mother superior in Frederick for a total of 18 years.
"She kept the Visitation Monastery open for decades after the other larger houses in her order had been closed," said the Rev. Michael Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew's Roman Catholic Church in Manchester "For all her cloistered context, she had great street smarts and craft."
He recalled that she allowed students to attend her school by paying only what their families could afford.
"When asked about the forgiven tuition, she replied, 'I took it as a matter of conscience. I would be afraid not to have done it,' " he said.
Sister Marguerite Therese was the subject of a 2005 article in The Sun when she and her surviving sister, Sister Francis Therese Leary, left the Frederick monastery at its closing.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon today at Monte Maria in Rockville, Va.