Remembering Sister Margaret James

Alexa Jokinen

The St. Scholastica Monastery recently lost a devoted and caring sister, as Sister Margaret James Laughlin passed away at age 96 on April 9, 2017.

Sister Margaret James had an imperative, logical and lively intellect, which she exercised in her community ministries, her job titles and her interactions with each person she came into contact with. She carried herself with a beautiful smile and shining blue eyes, wherever she found herself.

Sister Margaret James completed her B.A. in history at St. Scholastica and her M.A. in education at the University of Minnesota. She then served as assistant principal and principal of many schools across the Northland. Upon her time serving in schools, in 1976 she became the assistant to the president at CSS. From 1976 to 1991, former president, Dan Pilon, described Sister Margaret James as, “a down-to-earth solution to any impossible problem,” as stated in the Duluth News Tribune.

“When I returned to the college to teach, she was the registrar, but the position in which I remember her most was as assistant to the college president,” said Sister Donna Schroeder, one of Sister Margaret James admirers. “She was about the best committee chair dealing with a large committee I have ever witnessed in action. She cared about people and managed to create an environment that was comfortable and also accomplished what needed to be done,”

The Sisters in the Monastery loved her caring nature, and she was a genuine mentor for many people like Sister Donna Schroder. She worked with heart and passion. This is something she will forever be remembered for.

In 1991, Sister Margaret James became involved in the St. Scholastica Monastery where she served as a secretary coordinator. She and six other sisters lived together for over 40 years, and she enjoyed her time with them and the dogs they cared for in their small-group home.

She enjoyed dogs, spending time with her other sisters, watching Vikings games, cooking and completing chores around the home.

Her desire to share her intellect was ever present in all her activities. She not only desired constant good for the people around her, but she desired a humorous environment inspired by her Irish background.

“She was truly a dedicated servant to her family, her community, her ministries and her God,” as stated from her obituary posted in the Duluth News Tribune.

“I had great respect for Sister Margaret James. She was beginning as the principal of Stanbrook Hall High school during the year I was a beginning teacher. She was an excellent principal
and cared about faculty and students alike. I spoke a little to softly for a high school classroom and she worked with me to help me improve,” said Sister Donna Schroeder.

Sister Margaret James, her kind, helpful nature, her beautiful smile and humor will be missed dearly among students and faculty here at St. Scholastica and the Sisters in the Monastery.