With sparkling eyes, a welcoming smile, and radiating peace-filled joy, Sr. Edmund McGourty, SA draws everyone around her to experience the grace of God’s abundant love.
Sister Edmund is a Franciscan Sister of the Atonement from Graymoor in Garrison, New York. She was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, and joined the Sisters of the Atonement on March 25, 1938. The following year, she made the journey from Ireland to the Motherhouse in the United States, where she professed her first vows in 1940 and her final vows in 1946.
Sister Edmund also knew Father Paul Wattson, SA, who along with Mother Lurana, co-founded the Society of the Atonement in 1898. The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement were instrumental in founding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 1908. Sister Edmund is particularly drawn to one of the Bible passages that underline the charisma of the Atonement Friars and Sisters: “That they all may be one…” (John 21:17). Indeed, in her life, Sister has always prayed for unity among Christian churches, and has strived to live her life to be a welcoming presence to all the people she meets and serves.
In her over 75 years in active ministry, Sister has served in parishes throughout New York State as well as in Michigan, New Jersey, and Vermont. From 1983-2012, she served at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Shrub Oak, NY where she ministered to families and visited with the homebound sick and elderly.
Sister began this ministry by going door-to-door at a retirement community that had 100 units! Most of the people, 79, in fact, were Catholic, but due to illness or age, they could not come to Mass. And so, every two weeks, Sister would come to visit, to talk, to listen, and to share the Eucharist.
And, her simply being present to the homebound helped them experience the joy in knowing they were cared about, prayed for… remembered.
Sister Edmund began to have trouble with her vision and she is very grateful for volunteers who would drive her so she could visit the elderly and homebound. At the time she “retired,” she was still faithfully visiting with at least fifty homebound parishioners each month. When Sister retired from the parish in June of 2012 at the age of 94, there were some people she was visiting who were much younger than her!
She now resides at the Motherhouse in Garrison, where she still continues an active phone ministry. People call her regularly as well as visit. They share their lives, ask for prayers, and seek Sister’s humble wisdom.
Sister serves in love and acts as a channel of God’s peace. When asked about her vocation, she said, “Oh yes, religious life was absolutely for me…I look back happily over all my memories in religious life and I’m grateful for all of it. It’s been such a good life. It couldn’t have been better!”
Sister Edmund and the other Sisters of the Atonement are truly grateful for the help from SOAR! and its donors. “You all are prayed for!” assures Sister Edmund.