Sister Margaret Pirkl — Rochester

Sister Margaret Pirkl (Sister Cortona), 87, a Franciscan Sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rochester, died at Saint Marys Hospital, Rochester, on March 19, 2016.

Jeanette Margaret Pirkl was born July 7, 1928, in Summit Township, Steele County, Minn., to John and Frances (Wondra) Pirkl. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1946 from Most Holy Trinity Parish, Litomysl, Minn. Sister Margaret made first vows in 1949 and perpetual vows in 1952. She received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and physics (1951) from the College of St. Teresa, Winona, Minn. and a Master of Arts in teaching (1969) from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Sister Margaret began her teaching career in 1951 when she taught at Sacred Heart School in Waseca, Minn., for one year. Following graduate study, she taught at the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minn., for 29 years and one year at St. Mary's University in Winona. While at the College of Saint Teresa, Sister Margaret touched the lives of thousands of students and others in her physical science classes. She tried to foster in her science students wonder and awe at the beauty of the Earth, of the cosmos and a responsibility for the Earth.

She was instrumental in designing and promoting an integrated curriculum at the College of St. Teresa, "Design for Choice Makers." It was recognized nationally as one of the most innovative and effective endeavors in the nation's higher education system, fostering intellectual, personal and spiritual growth. She worked untiringly throughout her life in peace efforts at the city, state and national levels and had as her primary concern how the awareness of peacemaking can be brought to every committee, every classroom, and every activity where one finds oneself.

Sister Margaret was a writer and was the initiator, coordinator and energizer behind the Franciscan Global Perspective Series published by the Franciscan Federation in 1987. In 1988, she received the Franciscan Peacemaker Award at the Franciscan Federation national meeting. She also served as a parish volunteer in Caledonia, Minn. (1976-1977), at Assisi Heights in the retreat office and as a Spiritual Director. From 1992-2000 she served as a presenter and resource person for Franciscan Sabbatical programs, retreats and workshops at Tau Center, Winona, Minn. She retired to Assisi Heights in 2003.

Sister Margaret is survived by her Franciscan Community with whom she shared life for 69 years and her siblings: John (Dannette) Pirkl, Franksville, Wis., and Sister Franchon Pirkl, OSF, Blooming Prairie, Minn. She was preceded in death by her parents.

A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday April 7, 2016, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes at Assisi Heights, Rochester. A vigil service will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6.

Memorials are suggested to the Sisters of St. Francis, Office of Development, Assisi Heights, 1001 14th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901.