Honorary degree citation - Margaret Power*
By: Henry Habib, June 1994
Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you Sister Margaret Power RSCJ, who has given so much and touched so many lives in her nearly fifty years of community service as a member of a most distinguished order of Roman Catholic nuns, an educator, a Principal, and a social advocate.
Soeur Power porte un attachement tout particulier à Montréal où elle est née et a vécu une partie de sa jeunesse. C'est en effet dans cette ville qu'elle a obtenu un baccalaureat ès arts en 1929 de l'Université McGill avant de poursuivre ses études à Notre Dame Business School pendant deux ans. Her religious vocation, however, would take her away from the city in 1932 to the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, New York. In 1934 she made her first vows and, by 1940, made her final profession as a religious member of the Sacred Heart. The next thirty-eight years (from 1935 to 1973) would find Sister Power doing what she loved best, forming the minds of young girls as a High School teacher and Principal. In several Sacred Heart Schools and convents throughout Canada and the United States, teenagers have benefitted greatly from her teachings, including the School at 3635 Atwater Avenue here in Montreal of which Sr. Power was Principal. In her busy teaching and administrative career, she found time in 1948 to complete an MA in History from Fordham University in New York.
In 1973, Sr. Margaret Power decided to settle on rue Quesnel in Little Burgundy, and has been there ever since. There, she began to teach Welfare Law to welfare recipients. By organizing community gatherings, speaking to various social groups, and by using the media to get her message of social justice across, Sister Margaret Power has been able to give a voice to the voiceless, and bring to them a sense of pride and dignity.
Les efforts qu'elle a déployés à titre personnel et en qualité de présidente de l'Organisation d'aide aux assistés sociaux lui ont valu, au Québec et à l'extérieur du Québec, une grande renommée qui lui a permis de devenir le porte parole de la justice sociale partout au Canada. She has also been bestowed with numerous honours. In 1980, an honourary Doctorate of Divinity was conferred upon her by Union Theological College of McGill at St. Paul's United Church in Magog, Québec; in 1988, she was the recipient of the Bishop Crowley award given for outstanding contribution to the Catholic archdiocese of Montréal; and she has also been the recipient of the Rotary Club award for service to the community.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege and an honour to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Sister Margaret Power, so that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.