sister of St. Francis was always looking for new challenges in religious life
Sister Michele McQueeney, who said she feels “fortunate to have been involved in a variety of ministries in her 66 years as a Sister of St. Francis of Neumann Communities,” died Jan. 10 after a short illness at The Plaza in Kaneohe. She was 85.
“I have always sought new challenges throughout my years in religious life,” she wrote in 2017 on the occasion of her 60th Franciscan jubilee. “I have never been satisfied with staying in one place for any length of time. I am fortunate to have served in a variety of ministries on the mainland and in Hawaii.”
Sister Michele has served as a teacher, school administrator, social worker, director of a nonprofit organization, and community minister, among other things. She worked in Hawaii for 28 years.
“I loved my years at CSI (Comfort, Security, Independence) Inc. in Honolulu, where I worked with the frail elderly, homeless and drug addicts and learned how to run a small nonprofit,” she said. “It was a time when I prayed a lot and experienced many small miracles. We managed to survive.”
Sister Michele was born Margaret Susan McQueeney on July 21, 1937 in Auburn, New York to Carl and Margaret (Dougherty) McQueeney.
“I became acquainted with the Franciscan Sisters when I was in high school and working as a nurse’s assistant at the local hospital run by the sisters in Auburn, NY,” Sister Michele said. “The sisters were so cheerful and kind and made everyone feel happy. They could put a smile on your face, even if you weren’t as happy as they were.”
“By the end of high school, I had started thinking about religious life, but I decided to go to the nursing school run by the Franciscans. By the end of that year I had read about St Francis and St Clare and felt a real call to religious life,” she said.
She entered the Franciscan Sisters of the Neumann Communities on September 1, 1956.
Sister Michele has been involved in education for much of her religious life. She was a teacher for 21 years and the administrator at Saint Francis High School in Honolulu from 1982 to 1986.
She worked at Saint Paul’s Villa in Health and Human Services in County San Diego, California. Sister Michele moved to Hawaii and became executive director of CSI, Inc. in 1992. In 1999 she received the President’s Award from the Hawaii Women Lawyers Organization. Sister Michele also served as a volunteer in the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.
“I thank God for calling me into his vineyard and for the many graces I have received and my congregation for the many experiences I have had,” Sister Michele said. “With God nothing is impossible!”
Her fellow Sisters of St. Francis described Sister Michele as an easy-going person who enjoyed being with others. She was genuinely interested and concerned about those with whom she lived and ministered. She is survived by many cousins and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neuman communities.
Her funeral services will be held at St. Ann Church in Kaneohe on February 7, with a visitation at 9am followed by a Christian funeral service at 10am. The funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. at Diamond Head Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, 46-068 Alaloa St., Apt. 207, Kaneohe, HI 96744.