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A rare and gracious leader
Sister Marygrace (Ginger) Peters, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston

Ginger PetersSister Marygrace (Ginger) Peters, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston, died February 21, 2009, two days shy of her 67th birthday. Ginger had served as Prioress for five of a six-year term. Additionally, she served six years on the General Council, beginning in 1988, and as Director of Formation for five years in the early ‘80s.  Her sisters knew her to be open-minded and generous in her complements and affection.  Visitors to the Motherhouse were always greeted with warm hospitality.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 27 at Holy Rosary Church, the downtown parish of the Dominican Friars.  Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, assisted by Bishop Vincent Rizzotto and Bishop Joe Vasquez, officiated, with Dominican and diocesan priests concelebrating.  Don Goergen in his homily on the Beatitudes evoked from the crowded congregation the repeated mantra, “To be in the presence of Ginger was a Blessed Thing.”  Dominicans from all over the country attended the funeral, a testimony to Ginger’s leadership and whole-hearted participation in the Dominican Leadership Conference, the Dominican Alliance, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and others.  She was well known as a speaker on theology, history and religious life.  She had a ready smile, a hearty laugh and a generous spirit that endeared her to all who knew her.

Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the only child of the late Mary (McDonald) and Robert Peters, Ginger was educated in Catholic schools and earned her baccalaureate degree in psychology and education from Regis College in Weston, MA.  Life-long friends of hers from college days attended her funeral and have visited her many times over the years.

Ginger never failed to take a vacation with her closest living relatives are Col. James G. McDonald (94 years old) and his grown children, Leslie and Kevin, his children, and a cousin Mary Cronin.  But it could be fairly said that she embraced many, many others as her sisters and brothers, children and grandchildren, judging from the gallery of photographs papering her office.

Following her college, Ginger joined an apostolic volunteer group sponsored by Regis College that sent her to Sacred Heart School in Austin, TX where she first encountered the Dominican Sisters of Houston.  Ginger entered the novitiate in Houston in 1964, and there followed a series of ministries teaching in junior high and high schools, campus ministry in Galveston and Houston, then pastoral ministry in a Houston parish.  During those years she completed her M.A. in Theology from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio.

The highlight of Ginger’s teaching ministry came in the ten years she served as Associate Professor of Church History at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis.  At the Wake Service for Ginger, Diane Kennedy, then Academic Dean at Aquinas, reminisced about “keeping her eye” on Ginger as she was finishing up her Ph.D. at Boston University, so Aquinas could be the first to offer her the position.  Donna Pollard, Head of School, St. Pius X High School, Houston, said of Ginger in her eulogy, “As a teacher, Ginger was totally devoted to her students. They describe her as friends, challenging, intellectually curious, insightful and the embodiment of preaching and collaboration…the epitome of the melding of the academic and the pastoral. Her colleagues cherished her humor, admired her intellect and loved to converse with her on any topic.”