Sister Margie Hosch retires after 66 years

Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch talks with a man she met on one of her mission trips to Zambia. (Provided)

GREENVILLE—As Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch prepares for retirement to her motherhouse in Dubuque, Iowa, she reflected on her 66 years of ministry and said she realizes that every step along the way was a little miracle leading her to where she is today. 

Sister Margie has seved in the diocese for more than 20 years in a variety of roles. 

Most notable, she said, was her time as diocesan retreat director, which led to six mission trips to Zambia, Africa. She described it as experiencing poverty like she has “never understood before.” 

Spending months there at a time, Sister Margie got to know the people in the Solwezi Diocese and the Poor Clare sisters that serve there. 

She said their joy and deep faith inspired her to do more. She shared their needs with her fellow Franciscans and others in the Church. Many accompanied her on the next trip to Zambia to help provide resources for building wells, educating children and assisting the Poor Clares. 

Sister Margie has fond memories of her retreats in Zambia and being able to connect with clergy to reflect on their vocations.

She also recalled a time she became deathly ill and did not believe she would survive. 

“I was never afraid,” she said. “I actually very calmly told them to keep my body there to be buried with the Poor Clare Sisters in Zambia.”

But, to her relief, one of the Poor Clare Sisters saved her life. 

“She administered some medication and within a few hours I was walking around. It was a miracle.”

These miracles have shown up in Sister Margie’s life before. When she was praying about accepting the invitation to go to Zambia, she went to a cemetery where her fellow sisters were buried. She said she felt their overwhelming embrace and let go of all her doubts. 

It is even safe to say that becoming a sister in the first place was a bit of a miracle, since at the time of her calling she was in a serious relationship. 

Sister Margie grew up in Cascade, Iowa, on a dairy farm with her seven siblings. As a child, she helped her parents on the farm. She loved to dance and was a basketball player on her high school team. 

Shortly after graduating, she was following a path to marriage, when she recognized an inner desire to serve with the Franciscan Sisters. She credits her older sister, who had joined the ministry first, for inspiring her to seek her own spiritual fulfillment. 

Sister Margie’s first assignment was in 1953 as a teacher in Iowa. She went on to teach in Minneapolis, Minn., where she managed a family program that empowered parents to teach their children about first holy Communion. She also taught the Holy Family Program in California and Chicago, and earned a master’s in counseling and religious education. 

In the late 1980s, she came to the diocese to work as a counselor at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors.

During her time here, she served as director of religious education and coordinator of Catholic Charities in the Piedmont Deanery.

She has also touched many lives, such as Mary Catherine Harris, who first met Sister Margie in 2010 when she attended a retreat for women in divorce recovery. 

“My initial retreat experience with Sister Margie enabled me to turn a corner in divorce recovery and served further as the impetus for a deeper spiritual journey which continues to this day,” Harris said.

Her experience led her to participate in several other retreats and she joined Sister Margie on her sixth trip to Zambia. 

“She sees Christ in the faces and hearts of the people she encounters,” Harris said. 

When asked what she will miss most about her active ministry, Sister Margie responded that it will be “watching a person bloom in spirit and leading them to their interior selves.”