Sister Julia "Cecelia" McGanty, OSB
Born – January 10, 1930
Baptized – January 25, 1930
First Professed – February 10, 1949
Perpetual Profession – February 10, 1952
Entered Eternal Life – June 11, 2021
Sr. Julia McGanty, O.S.B., a long-time member of Queen of Angels Monastery, died in the very early afternoon of June 11, 2021, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the infirmary at Queen of Angels Monastery, Mount Angel, Oregon. She was 91 years old.
Born in Yamhill, Oregon, to William and Margaret McGanty, Sr. Julia (Cecelia) McGanty attended St. John’s Church in Yamhill as a child and attended schools in Yamhill and McMinnville. She continued her education while in boarding school at Mt. Angel Academy and at Mt. Angel College. Influenced by the prayer life of the Benedictine Sisters, Cecelia asked to enter the religious community and professed her vows on February 10, 1949, taking the name of Sister Julia.
She loved to be of service to others and she was very gracious and caring in the way she helped others. Sr. Julia has served in a variety of ministries during her community life, including work in food service at Mt. Angel Abbey. In 1954 she was called to serve at Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island in British Columbia, where she supervised playground sports, and performed nursing and cooking duties for the school. When Sr. Julia returned to Mt. Angel, she worked at the Benedictine Village Home, the Benedictine Nursing Home, and the Monastery’s infirmary.
Sr. Julia taught religion to children at St. Mary Parish in Mt. Angel for 16 years, and at St. Paul Parish in Silverton, as well as teaching religious education classes in many other parishes throughout Oregon.
In 1974 Sr. Julia attended the Academy of Hair Design in Salem and became a licensed cosmetologist. Following her graduation, she began working at LaDonna’s Beauty Center in Silverton, and, later, at Visions Salon and Spa. She has donated hair care services at the River House, Marquis Care Silver Gardens, the Davenport House, and within her own community of sisters. Throughout her work in the Silverton community, Sr. Julia found that serving the community is a source of blessings and joy.
In her Benedictine community, besides being the sisters’ beautician, she chauffeured her sisters to doctor appointments, vacations, and many other destinations. She did beautiful flower arrangements for the chapel and dining room. She was a faithful member of the sisters’ Schola. She was candle maker par excellence. Each year at Easter, Sr. Julia made the Paschal Candle for the Benedictine Sisters’ chapel and for the Providence Benedictine Nursing Center. The first and primary use for this Paschal Candle is during the Easter Vigil. In our chapel, the candle is prominently placed to the side of the ambo and lit every time we gather for prayer until Pentecost. The Paschal Candle is also used at the time of Monastic Profession, and when a sister dies, the Paschal Candle is placed by her coffin before and during the funeral. Sr. Julia performed this service of making candles 50+ years. Her candles are still being used today in the chapel, the chapter room and other places in the monastery, a beautiful reminder of Sr. Julia and her gracious service to her community.
Sr. Julia was exceptionally gracious in her welcoming of others to our monastery. Guests and visitors knew that they were welcomed as if they were Christ, as St. Benedict wrote in his holy Rule for monastics.
Sr. Julia celebrated her 70th anniversary of religious profession in 2019 with much joy. She was so grateful for the support of her Benedictine community and her family for her many years of faithfulness to God in monastic life at Queen of Angels Monastery.
Sr. Julia is preceded in death by her parents, William and Margaret; her brothers, William and John; and sisters, Margaret and Mary. She is survived by her many nieces and nephews, cousins, and her monastic community, the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel.
A prayer vigil will take place in the monastery chapel, 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, June 17 and a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021, followed by her burial in the monastery cemetery.
Gifts to the Benedictine Sisters Retirement Fund are graciously accepted in memory of Sr. Julia. Gifts can be sent to Benedictine Sisters, 840 S. Main St., Mount Angel, OR 97362.