by Sushi Horwitz.
The guest was very quiet. She was in her thirties, thin, with deep seeing eyes. In those days, I was responsible for seeing that the washing of the dishes went smoothly after each meal.
I soon discovered that our new arrival was very efficient and capable. She said little, saw everything, and did every task exceedingly well. She was the one who would quietly do an extra job or stay late to finish up. Generosity seemed to be her middle name. Yes, Marg Stobie was a blessing in my little world of soapsuds and dishes.
"Dishes" as we call it at Madonna House is made up of many little tasks. Though I was the one responsible, I didn’t always see everything that needed to be done.
But Marg did. She would quietly come to me and say, "Would you like me to do such and such?" It was so much nicer than someone saying, "Are you blind?! Why haven’t you asked someone to do that job?" I was grateful for Marg’s gracious manner.
Marg became an applicant, and we became friends. She and I would go for walks. She was a very intelligent woman who had done all sorts of things. It was fascinating to hear her ideas and impressions. But more than that, Marg had a deep and reflective spirit, and I felt privileged to listen to her.
We were totally different—she without an ounce of fat on her, quiet, intense, and very introverted. I was the polar opposite. I treasured her observations and insights, and she seemed to appreciate my openness and warmth. Our relationship was warm and easy; affectionately, I called her "Marg-ie."
I asked her once, on a walk, what her "dream" job was. She said, "teaching theology." She told me she read theology for fun before going to sleep.
After fifteen years as a staff worker, Marg felt burnt out; she asked to take a leave of absence. I was not the only one who prayed for her constantly during her time away.
Then, a year later, Marg came back! I was one of many who were overjoyed to see her.
Later, on one of our walks, she told me that she had always felt an attraction to the contemplative life. During her year away, she had stayed at two women’s monasteries. Both had accepted her into their community, but Marg returned to Madonna House.
Marg always served. When she worked in Our Lady of the Visitation with our elderly members who need extra help, she was deeply beloved by them. And they weren’t the only ones who treasured her. Many were touched by her deeply loving heart and grateful for her loving, serving presence.
Who knows the day and the hour? On Sunday January 23rd, Marg on her free afternoon was, as usual, serving someone else’s needs. She was driving Joan Bryant to catch a bus in Lindsay. And it was on that trip that the car left the road, hit a tree, and both died.
In my shock over the deaths of Marg and Joan, a scene played over and over in my mind. It was of a car drifting into the opposite lane, overcorrecting, flipping onto its side and slamming into a tree.
Only today, in a time of quiet did another thought enter. Wood…. Death….. A tree…. Who else had met his death on cold, hard wood? None other than Marg’s Beloved.
With that, a strange consolation entered me. Marg, who loved the Lord and had freely given her life to him, was also connected to him in the manner of her death.
May the joy of the resurrection now be yours, dear sister, Marg.
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