SAN DIEGO — Sister Margaret Castro, a member of the Sisters for Christian Community, died June 8 at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Sister Castro, 83, served St. Rita Parish in San Diego for more than 40 years as director of religious education and leader of the Hispanic community.
Mary Margaret Castro was born Nov. 12, 1938, in San Diego to James and Anna Castro.
In the mid-1950s, she entered religious life with the Missionaries of Charity, founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta. She attended the School of Tropical Medicine and became a leprosy specialist in Calcutta. After 13 years, she left the Missionaries of Charity in 1968.
She was sent back to the United States from India after having fallen seriously ill, said a longtime friend, Sister Dina Marie Garcia, a member of the Religious of Jesus and Mary who serves as pastoral assistant with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Rita’s.
Following her return to health, Sister Castro joined the U.S. Peace Corps and was stationed in Malawi, Africa. She later would join two other religious communities before finding the right fit as a member of the Sisters for Christian Community. She made her lifelong commitment to the Sisters for Christian Community on Nov. 8, 1991, in the presence of the late Auxiliary Bishop Gilbert Chavez.
“(Sister Castro) had a very, very big heart. She loved people,” recalled Sister Garcia, who noted that her late friend had a particular love for the poor and “would drop everything and go help them.”
Among other positions, Sister Castro served from 1978 to 1984 as director of the Linda Vista Neighborhood House Association in San Diego and in 1987 as a case worker with Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement Program, in Washington, D.C.
Sister Garcia described her as “a very fun person” and “very devoted to the Eucharist.”
“She was a very beautiful person in all ways,” she said.
A funeral Mass was celebrated June 15 at St. Rita Church.