Margaret O’Gara, Professor of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, entered the realm of eternal life on Thursday, August 16, at age 65, after suffering from cancer for two years. The staff and friends of the LRI extend their deepest sympathies to her bereaved husband, Michael Vertin. Among her many offices, Margaret was an Associate Scholar of the Lonergan Research Institute.
The characteristic aim of Margaret’s 37 years of work as a theologian was to foster dialogue among Christians for the sake of overcoming divisions between the churches. Besides her teaching, research, writing, and extensive public lecturing, she was a member of official ecumenical dialogues in Canada, the United States, and at the international level. She served as president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists and the Catholic Theological Society of America.
Margaret’s unusual effectiveness in these professional arenas came from a combination of her scholarly rigor, her exceptional ability to listen sympathetically, her uncommon energy, and her contagious delight at the growth of mutual understanding and friendship. The same traits marked her strong personal relationships with her students and colleagues, the members of her extended family, and her many longstanding friends. Beneath everything else, the fundamental driving force of her life was her deep and abiding Christian faith.
Margaret’s funeral mass was held at St. Basil’s Church, Toronto, on Thursday, August 23, at 10:30am. She was buried in Michael’s home town of Breckenridge, Minnesota.