Sister Rita Margaret Chambers, OP

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Sister Rita Margaret Chambers

Sister Rita Margaret Chambers died peacefully at St. Catherine’s Convent and Healthcare Facility on October 31 after a short illness. Sister was 94 years old and had been a Caldwell Dominican for seventy-five years.  Although “retired” for almost two decades, Sister Rita Margaret maintained an active ministry especially among the alumnae of Caldwell College and Lacordaire Academy where she had taught for many years.

Born in Irvington, NJ, Sister entered the Caldwell Congregation in 1937. Her first teaching assignment was in St. Ann’s School in Newark. She went on to achieve a B.A. from Caldwell College, the M.A. from the Catholic University of America, and the PhD in English Literature from St. John’s University. Sister was well prepared for her ministry of teaching. She served as Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Caldwell College,  and later as Academic Dean, Director of Alumnae Affairs,  and subsequently as the first director of the College Archives.

Elected to the Dominican Sisters’  General  Council in 1969, she served as Vicaress of the Congregation until 1975. Passionately concerned about the needs of the elderly, Sister Rita Margaret went on to become co-founder and Director of the Office on Aging for the Archdiocese of Newark, and later led the establishment of Marian Manor, an affordable housing site in Caldwell under the auspices of the Dominican Sisters. Sister authored a history of Caldwell College in 1989 and the history of Marian Manor in 1993.

Fully retired in recent years, she maintained an active and involved presence in the community of St. Catherine’s Convent where her gracious and prayerful  demeanor will be greatly missed. She is survived by her sister, Mrs. Doris Donahue of Brigantine, NJ.

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