West Virginia Chapter Loses a Piece of Its History

On March 15, 2011, the West Virginia Chapter lost a piece of living history with the passing of Sister M. Madeleine Lopez, at age 100.

Sister Madeleine, for whom one of our Chapter awards was created to honor, served as the sixth Chapter President, in 1959 – 1960; she served a second term in 1966 – 1967.  In addition to serving as President, Sister earned the Folmer Bronze, Reeves Silver and Muncie Gold awards and was awarded the Founders Medal of Honor in 1987.

Born in British Honduras, Sister entered the religious life, joining the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, Queen of Apostles Province, as a very young woman -merely 23.  Sister was educated in math, English and Hospital Administration, at Catholic University of America, St. Louis University and Marshall College. She taught for two years at schools in Laurel, Maryland.

Recognizing her business skills, Sister’s superiors sent her to Huntington in 1938, to work in the business office at St. Mary’s Hospital.  Two years later, she became comptroller – a position she retired from in 1983.  But, Sister was not finished in her service to St. Mary’s.   She served as Director of Volunteer Services from 1983 – 1991 and appeared in the Hospital’s TV commercials, with MU football coach Bob Pruett and basketball coach Greg White, well into the 1990’s.

In addition to her tireless work to advance the Sisters’ mission through the Hospital, Sister Madeleine was a powerful force in the Province, serving as canonical and corporate treasurer for 56 years.  In chatting with those who knew Sister during much of her 77 years of religious life, no one could recall ever seeing her angry.  She worked tirelessly, more than once just leaving her office as the other Sisters were going to chapel for morning prayers.

Scripture says, in Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as a sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”  As a business woman, Sister was very savvy, seeking guidance and counsel with successful business people, when her own knowledge base seemed potentially inadequate.  Her business savvy showed in the leadership she provided to the Chapter, St. Mary’s and her Order.

Those who were fortunate enough to know Sister Madeleine are left with charming memories and quaint stories.  Those too young or too new to the Chapter to have known her missed a real delight.

Respectfully submitted by:

Mary Ann Brown
Director of Provider Relations
St. Mary’s Medical Center
WV Chapter President – 1992 – 1993