September 3, 2012

TORONTO – Margaret O'Gara, a past president of both the North American Academy of Ecumenists and the Catholic Theological Society of America, died Aug. 16 after a two-year battle with cancer. She was 65.

O'Gara, a theologian for 37 years, was a professor of theology at the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto. Her husband, Michael Vertin, was a professor emeritus of theology at the same school.

In announcing O'Gara's death, Basilian Father Mario DiSouza, dean of theology at the University of St. Michael's College, said, "She cared for and loved her students, her colleagues and her teaching at the faculty of theology very dearly."

An obituary prepared by her husband said the aim of O'Gara's work "was to foster dialogue among Christians for the sake of overcoming divisions between the churches."

She was a member of official ecumenical dialogues in Canada, the U.S. and on the international level.

"Margaret's unusual effectiveness in these professional arenas came from a combination of her scholarly rigour, her exceptional ability to listen sympathetically, her uncommon energy and her contagious delight at the growth of mutual understanding and friendship," Vertin wrote.

"Beneath everything else, the fundamental driving force of her life was her deep and abiding Christian faith."