Sister Margaret “Peggy” O’Neill, SC, earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, New Jersey, her master’s degree from Marquette University, and her doctorate from New York University. As a theology professor, she taught at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York for 25 years.
Following a tour of Central America in the early 1980s, Sister Peggy began serving in the Diocese of San Salvador in 1986, assisting refugees and accompanying them during the civil war that was raging in El Salvador at that time. In 2006, Sister Peggy began El Centro Arte Para la Paz, an educational and cultural center that promotes peace through dance, art and theological reflection, in Suchitoto, El Salvador, on the grounds of the historic Santa Imelda School and Convent. Through programs that strengthen cultural identity and unity within the community, teach skills to support self-sufficiency and critical thinking, promote environmental awareness, teach gender equality, explore nurturing spiritualties, and build bridges between cultures, the center has served tens of thousands of people since its opening.
While engaging volunteers and professionals in Suchitoto to get the Peace Center established, Sister Peggy traveled weekly to San Salvador, to teach men and women in various stages of religious and lay ministry formation through the Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education. She also participated with Santa Clara University’s Casa de la Solidaridad to both provided extended inclusion experiences as well as classes to students desiring a third world experience.
In October 2017, Sister Peggy was chosen as the speaker to the English-speaking contingent of the Vincentian Family gathered in Rome, Italy for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the charism of Charity. Below is a video of her presentation.