Sister Peggy Offley, who was a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for 74 years, died on April 13, 2020.
Thoughtful, gentle, with a quiet sense of humor and a delight in life’s surprises, Sister Peggy was grateful for God’s grace and for good friends in her life. Born in Washington, D.C., on September 5, 1926, her father’s military commitments during World War II and afterwards took the family from Baltimore to Hawaii, San Luis Obispo and Salinas, California.
For a time Peggy and her sister Alice were sent to boarding school at Moreland Notre Dame in Watsonville, but when the family relocated to Carmel the girls were sent to Carmel High. But a move to Marysville brought them back to a Notre Dame school again! Peggy enjoyed walking to school each day with Barbara Hanagan (who became a Sister, too) and her other schoolmates. Her father was soon transferred again, this time to San Francisco, and the girls were sent to nearby Sacred Heart Academy.
In her senior year of high school, Peggy was “pretty sure” she wanted to be a Sister. One of her teachers suggested she talk with a Jesuit at University of San Francisco who just happened to have two sisters who were Sisters of Notre Dame. The summer after her high school graduation, Peggy entered the Notre Dame de Namur novitiate in Saratoga.
Even as a Sister, Peggy continued her travels, teaching in many Notre Dame schools throughout California, Washington and Hawaii. Fifth graders were her favorites. “They were happy and happy to learn,” she remembers, “and mostly well behaved!”
After almost 40 years as a classroom teacher, Sister Peggy offered to assist in the fourth grade at Notre Dame Elementary, Belmont. Teacher Gale Vaillancourt was most grateful to have her. “Sister Peggy helped the children with anything–math, reading, writing. She loved the children and they loved her. We worked so well together.”
Sister Peggy loved teaching and has been happy living in communities, but, for her, the special blessing of her life in Notre Dame was the way she was led closer to God. “Regardless of ministry, our congregation wants us to take time to grow, to be a better persons, not just good teachers. We have been encouraged to take time for retreats and spiritual growth.” She appreciated her years serving at the House of Prayer in Carmel. In her second retirement, Sister described her ministry as: “To be loving and kind to all the people around me.”
When celebrating her 70th Jubilee as a Sister, she said “I am so grateful. I can’t believe it, so many years to be a religious and to know Jesus. Being a Sister has been a happy, grace-filled time for me with many happy surprises. God’s grace is for all of us.”
Sister Peggy lived for years at the Province Center in Belmont, then moved to the Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland, where she received loving care for her final three years. Ann Comer, health care coordinator for the Sisters in California, described Sister Peggy as “very, very endearing. She always made me smile because she enjoyed life and had so much joy in her being.”
She was preceeded in death by her parents Col. Robert and Margaret Offley, her brother Col. Robert Offley and her sister Alice Roos. Sr. Peggy will be remembered and missed by her nieces and nephews, her many former students, her friends and by her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
A Memorial Mass honoring Sister Peggy’s life was offered on Monday, November 16, 2020. Click here to view the video of the service on YouTube.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 1520 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA 94002 or online by clicking here.
Sister Peggy's Ministries
St. Mary Elementary School, San Jose
Our Lady of Guadalupe School, Santa Barbara
St. Joseph Elementary School, Alameda
Sr. Clare Elementary School, Santa Clara
Mother of Sorrows Elementary School, Los Angeles
St. Mark Elementary School, Seattle WA
Star of the the Sea, Honolulu HI
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, Redwood City
St. Philip Neri Elementary School Alameda
St. Philomena Elementary School, Des Moines WA
Most Holy Trinity Elementary School, San Jose
St. Thomas More Elementary School, Lynnwood WA
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Salinas (Extended Day Care)
Notre Dame Elementary School, Belmont
Service to the Sisters
SNDdeN Generalate, Rome
SNDdeN House of Prayer, Carmel
Notre Dame High School Convent, Belmont