Sister in the Spotlight
Sr. Maggie Moves the Mission
by Eileen Dushek-Manthe
Sr. Maggie Hopkins (right) talks with Edgewood College coworkers Ed Taylor and Cristie Jacobs.
Maggie Hopkins, OP, was slowly gearing up to retire after 29 years in mission education at Edgewood College, Madison, WI. At the beginning of the 2019–2020 academic year, people started asking if she was counting down the days. She thought she’d spend her last year immersed in projects such as the Dominican Colloquium that, as cochair, she had spent two years planning. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“The plans, all the things I was working on, none of it happened,” Maggie said. She found she needed to be in the present moment with the pandemic. Living the Dominican mission helped her with this unscheduled rehearsal for retirement. “I just had to let it go. In light of the needs of the world, this is nothing.”
Maggie’s work in mission education brought her together with people in all aspects of campus life. She shared, “One of the best things about my job is I never worked by myself.” When she began, she noticed that the mission wasn’t as visible as it could have been. She and others came up with ways to make the Mission, Vision, and Direction Statements of the Congregation and college not only visible but part of the life of the campus and the people there. The environments, curriculum, and policies reflect the mission. Maggie also observed that students would leave the college with a lifelong love of learning and an awareness of how to navigate their life within an ever-changing world. She knew her work was taking hold when Dan Carey, president of the college from 2004–2014, was being interviewed and staff were the ones asking mission-focused questions, not her.
Sixteen years later, Maggie’s 45 years in educational ministry have concluded in a way she never imagined due to the pandemic. Maggie plans to continue to learn and grow as she has always loved possibilities and learning. When something catches her attention, it moves her forward. Being a Dominican has promoted and focused this part of her life. “Through prayer and reflection, I know how to allow myself to be open to new learning. As I listen, through Scripture, there is always something new that pops up. Prayer leads me to the next question that I need to explore.”
As she reshapes her life, Maggie wants to be renewed and surprised. “I have no doubt that my Dominican mission and my congregation mission will keep leading me forward and engaging me in God’s mission.”