San Francisco Chronicle

Sister Margaret Mary Hoffman, SNDdeN

November 19, 1927 - March 29, 2021


Heart and soul -- an artist! Sr. Margaret designed the beautiful very real-looking Madonna and Child on the bell tower of Cunningham Memorial Chapel at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, and she collaborat­ed with the artist, Gabriel Loire, in designing the sculptured-glass chapel windows. To remember Sister Margaret Hoffman is to see her as a gifted artist and a well-loved teacher, a woman of great empathy, a faithful friend, and an indefatiga­ble champion for issues of peace and justice. She struggled to learn computer programs even in her 80’s so she could both keep up with issues across the country and around the world, inform others, and contribute reflective insights about them. She could also laugh at herself, and often did, making others laugh with her.

Sister Margaret served as Chair of the Art Department at College of Notre Dame for twenty years. She also inspired and influenced many future teachers while giving art classes to young Sisters at the Saratoga Novitiate. She touched the lives of students at Emmanuel College in Boston, where she was assigned for a year, then taught art for twelve years at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, still making time to do art therapy in convalesce­nt homes for the elderly and mentally ill who had little access to the arts.

Sr. Margaret then served for five years at the Sisters’ Mission Education Center in Washington D.C., researchin­g issues and communicat­ing on behalf of Notre Dame Sisters around the world. After returning to California, Sr. Margaret became the Communicat­ions Director for the California Province, publishing a newsletter and expanding community awareness of justice and peace issues.

Sisters and visitors to the Notre Dame Province Center in Belmont will continue to see in the entryway to the Province Center her more recent artwork which combines quotes from the Beatitudes with ones from Sister Dorothy Stang, who was assassinat­ed in the Amazon Rainforest.

The Sisters are grateful to healthcare coordinato­rs Ann Comer and Sr. Sharon Joyer, SNDdeN, and to Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland, where Margaret received excellent care the past several months before she died. She will be deeply missed by her many friends, former colleagues and students, by her brother, James Hoffman, his wife, Jan, their children Karl, in San Francisco, and Kevin, Jeremy, and Jill in Pennsylvan­ia, by other family in Alabama, and by all her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Another brother, Ray Hoffman and her sister, Sr. Patricia Hoffman, predecease­d her.

Mass will be celebrated for Sister Margaret on Tuesday, April 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the Cunningham Memorial Chapel. Memorial contributi­ons may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 1520 Ralston Avenue, Belmont 94002 or online at To read more about Sr. Margaret and share a memory, go to

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