Sr. Modde provided canonical expertise to ministry leaders

January 15, 2011

Sr. Margaret Mary Modde, OSF, died Dec. 9 in Rochester, Minn., at age 90. She was a canonical consultant who lent her expertise to health care systems, facilities and sponsoring congregations across the Catholic health ministry.

Born Mary Romanus Modde, she professed her vows as a Sister of St. Francis in 1941. She was a teacher before making a career shift and joining the business office of Mercy Hospital in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1953. In the 1960s, she served in various capacities at her congregation's motherhouse, Assisi Heights, in Rochester.

From 1970 to 1974, Sr. Modde was executive director of the National Sisters Vocation Conference.

After earning her canon law doctorate in 1977, she was a canonical consultant to religious experts and served as a liaison between religious congregations around the world. She was a canonist and then an associate vice president for membership at CHA in the late 1980s.

From 1989 to 2008, Sr. Modde served as a canonical consultant for Chicago's McDermott, Will and Emery law firm. She provided guidance on the mergers, sales and reorganizations of numerous Catholic health systems, including Catholic Health Partners of Cincinnati; Catholic Healthcare West of San Francisco; Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corp.; Provena Health of Mokena, Ill.; and Sisters of Mercy Health System of Chesterfield, Mo. She also provided counsel on the restructuring of sponsoring congregations.

Michael Anthony of the health industry practice group of McDermott, Will and Emery said Sr. Modde advised his firm on hundreds of complex transactions, including setting up sponsorship boards, establishing joint sponsorship arrangements and merging congregations or systems.

"Her canon law experience coupled with her dedication and creativity helped change the Catholic health care system environment in immeasurable, positive ways," said Anthony.


Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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