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Sr. Maggie McDermott to Retire from Tolentine Zeiser CLC

By Katie Mahon, Communications Manager

This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Ministry.

Embracing Faith Through Ministry

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares God, ‘plans to prosper you

and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” -Jeremiah 29:11

For over 40 years, Sr. Maggie McDermott, OP, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, has been the face, heart, and soul of the Tolentine Zeiser Community Life Center.

From building up ministries such as the Sammon Build Center, Paradise Transitional Housing, Susan’s Place, Siena House, and the Tolentine Early Learn Program, Sr. Maggie has genuinely dedicated her ministry to following her congregation’s mission of caring for those in need.

As Executive Director of Tolentine Zeiser, Sr. Maggie has lived that mission faithfully daily.

Last year, Sr. Maggie spoke about her ministries and their relation to the Blauvelt Dominican mission.

“The Blauvelt Dominican mission involves serving the poor and marginalized, and I have dedicated my life to that.” She went on to add, “This population was being overlooked, and by having the right staff and atmosphere, would be a part of the mission of the Sisters of Saint Dominic.” (1)

Throughout the pandemic, Sr. Maggie’s strong leadership was instrumental in guiding her ministries while always ensuring that her Tolentine Zeiser community continued to be served at a high quality.

In a previous interview, Sr. Maggie shared what keeps her drive strong for her ministry, “I do it for God. I love what I do. I love my work and the people here. I try my best to be a service to people. It means more to me now than it ever did. I’m grateful that I can do it. Each day is a daily walk with God, and whatever happens, we need to make the most of it and trust in God to keep going.”(2)

Sisters Maggie McDermott and Rose Ellen Gorman with the Tolentine Zeiser Board Members
Sisters Maggie McDermott and Rose Ellen Gorman with the Tolentine Zeiser Board Members

This mindset helped Sr. Maggie make a difference in many lives within the Bronx communities and led her to her recent decision to retire from her ministry.

As of the most recent Tolentine Zeiser Board of Directors meeting in January 2023, Sr. Maggie will no longer minister as Executive Director. She will now be ministering at Saint Dominic’s Convent in Blauvelt.

Sr. Rose Ellen Gorman, OP, a fellow Sister of Saint Dominic and Chairperson of the Tolentine Zeiser Board of Directors, praised Sr. Maggie for her time as Executive Director and shared, “I have been with Sr. Maggie when this ministry was just a thought and have walked with for her over 40 years of ministry. She was the foundress of Tolentine Zeiser Community Life Center. Her desire was to service the people in the Bronx and she did this through all the agencies of her center. In the real hard times, when money was tight and money wasn’t coming through, Maggie said I trust in God, and he always come through. Her great faith kept the agency going to where it is today. I am so proud to have begun with Sr. Maggie and have ended with her in her ministry.”


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