Remembering Sister Mary Magdalen
It is hard to believe that one year ago today, Sr Mary Magdalen, the founding Headteacher of Maricourt died peacefully in her residence in McAuley Mount residential home in Burnley. She was the Headteacher of Maricourt for 32 years before retiring in 1989.
In 1957 she was asked by her Order, the Sisters of Mercy, to go to Maghull to open an independent girls school following a request from the local community. The school was to be known as Mater Misercordiae High School. On 12 September 1957, the school opened in the convent parlour with only 16 eleven-year-old girls. This tiny institution grew and, by 1964, became a girls grammar school with voluntary-aided status from the then Bootle Education Authority.
After only four years as a grammar school, the Reverend Mother at the time was approached by Archbishop George Andrew Beck to annexe a newly built, but as yet unoccupied, parish secondary modern building, and to undertake co-ed comprehensive education for the area. Mater Misercordiae was transformed into Maricourt and had its first intake of boys as well as girls in September 1968 under the Lancashire Education Authority.
Sister Mary Magdalen was tireless in her work and efforts to make Maricourt a great school, serving the needs of the local community and giving so many young people a fantastic education. As a result of her efforts the school grew in numbers and between 1968 and 2005 had no fewer than 19 major building developments to house its 1,500 pupils. Many of the developments were initiated and supervised by her and funded by the Sisters of Mercy.
Sister Mary retired at the age of 65 at Christmas 1989 but remained as a governor. She became chair following the sudden death of Bishop Kevin O'Connor in 1994. She remained a member of the Maricourt community until 2017 when, due to failing health, she moved to the Sisters' retirement home, McAuley Mount in Burnley.
We will be forever grateful for her vision and her dedication to Maricourt. She was loved and respected by so many and, despite retiring in 1989, she was always asking after our staff and students whilst keeping the school in her prayers. We, as a school community, will mark her anniversary in our prayers this week.
May she rest in God's eternal peace.