Sister Spotlight: Two Leaps of Faith, One Purpose

March 9, 2017

For co-workers and visitors alike at Mercy Hospital Springfield, Sisters Carmen Gonzalez and Margaret Andrews do their best to help whenever there’s a need.

“When someone is going through tough times, it’s important to know there’s someone who wants to help – that’s me,” said Sister Margaret. “I’ve known I was meant to serve since I was 9 or 10.”

“We all need to be loved and appreciated,” said Sister Carmen. “That’s always been in my heart – to share God’s love with everyone I meet.”

Raised in Catholic schools in southern Texas, Sister Carmen followed in her first teachers’ footsteps, becoming a grade school teacher, first in southern Texas, then later in Oklahoma City. After four decades in the classroom, she decided to take a break from teaching to consider other opportunities to serve as a Sister of Mercy.

“If it was God’s will to make a change, I knew the right door would open,” she said.

Returning to Oklahoma City, she explained, “Sister Kathryn Slaughter came to visit me. When I told her that I had visited several hospitals, she said, ‘Pack your bags, we’re going to Springfield!’”

Since then, she has proudly served as a member of Mercy Hospital Springfield’s auxiliary. 

Shown at right: (Center) Jennifer Battagler, director of volunteer services, joins Sister Carmen Gonzalez (left) and Sister Margaret Andrews at the statue of Catherine McAuley in the lobby of Mercy Hospital Springfield.

Shown at right: (Center) Jennifer Battagler, director of volunteer services, joins Sister Carmen Gonzalez (left) and Sister Margaret Andrews at the statue of Catherine McAuley in the lobby of Mercy Hospital Springfield.

Since moving to Springfield in 2015, Sister Margaret has also proudly supported the Springfield hospital's auxiliary, helping mostly at the front desk and also delivering flowers and mail to patients. 

“I receive great satisfaction in my duties here at the hospital,” she said. “Wherever there’s a need, I’m happy to help.” 

That desire to help took Sister Margaret all the way to Ireland in 1965. As soon as she graduated from high school, she left her home in central Missouri to join the Irish Sisters of Mercy. Returning seven years later, she served in Catholic health care facilities in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. 

As for Sister Carmen, she too has taken a leap of faith to pursue her ministry. As a sophomore in high school, she left Texas to enter the convent in St. Louis. “Because I was quite young, I was very homesick,” she recalled. “But I knew I’d be taken care of by the Sisters.” 

If given the chance to speak with the sisters who established Springfield’s first hospital, Carmen said, “I’d say, ‘Thank you, and God bless you for your bravery! It was a frontier then, and I don’t know if I could’ve done that.”

Media Contacts

Sonya Kullmann
Berryville, Branson, Cassville, Lebanon, Mountain View, Rolla, Springfield, Aurora
Phone: 417-820-2426