Margaret Dewey 1923–2017

The Most Revd Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, celebrated the liturgy, with clergy assisting: the Revd Christopher Myers SSM, SSM Provincial/the Rt Revd Garry Weatherill, Bishop of Ballarat/the Ven Dr Craig D’Alton, Vicar of St Mary’s North Melbourne/the Revd Emily Payne, formerly Assistant Curate at St Mary’s.

Diana Cherry and Joy Freier gave the eulogies.

In a tribute to Margaret Dewey, friend and SSM member Alexis Fraser wrote:

Margaret Dewey was in many ways an Edwardian Blue Stocking born out of her time and country. However she was also a devoted seeker of a Living God and will take her place as an intellectual woman of great Faith who used her cerebral gifts to teach, learn, enquire and illustrate a religious life that could still be lived in modern times to the glory of God.

Margaret Dewey was admitted as a professed member of SSM in 2000 at the January Chapter of the Australian Province in Adelaide—the first woman to join the Australian Province.  The ceremony realised a long held ambition of hers to publicly dedicate her life to God and SSM and its principles.

The ambition had been building within her with regard to SSM at least since Father Francis Horner had asked her to join the Willen Priory on her return to England after years spent in America caring and nursing her father through his final illnesses.

Prior to her Australian profession Margaret had moved to St Michaels Priory in Diggers Rest and formally transferred to the Australian province.  She relished the community life and peace she found in the routine of Daily Offices at the priory.  Her work included editing and writing many of the articles for Mission, the Southern Provinces regular quarterly magazine.  She and Father David Wells, whilst running retreats and quiet days at St Michael’s, welcomed Gregory Stephens and guided and mentored him through his enquires, novitiate, profession, his theological studies, deaconing and eventually ordination.  Margaret flourished whilst installing all she had learned of Father Kelly in a willing recipient.  She attended regular lectures at Trinity College and was particularly impressed that Archbishop Rowan William’s lectures at St Peters Eastern Hills echoed strongly the prescience and post modernism of Father Kelly.

Throughout these years of prayer, meditation and Daily Offices Margaret of course nurtured the library at St Michael’s and followed paths of study, enquiry and exploration of current theology, particularly quantum theology, Christology, modern mysticism and of course current archeological developments as they concerned the mysteries of the Old Testament stories.  She wrote of the work of Father Kelly and assisted with the republication of some of his original material for a new generation of SSM enquirers.

Margaret displayed a quiet devout faith and did all she could to use theology and enquiry to allow her a glimpse of the mysteries of God.

Obituary: Church Times

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