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Margo Young: Educator, counselor, physician and nun

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POSTED February 3, 2010 3:10 a.m.

Margo Young is a rare breed.

She is an educator, a counselor, hospital chaplain, physician, medical missionary, and nun all rolled into one.

The list goes on though for this St. Anthony’s School graduate – she was a member of the parochial school’s first graduating class – who also attended Lincoln Elementary School and Manteca High School.

She entered the convent of the Precious Blood Sisters soon after graduating from high school. The Precious Blood were the same nuns who came to teach at the newly built St. Anthony’s School in the early 1950s. She entered as a fourth grader when the school finally opened, graduating from eighth grade four years later.

Today, the physician nun will be a special guest at the school as part of the Catholic Schools Week celebration. She will be taking part in the Catholic Schools Mass at 9 a.m., and later will attend the Vocations Mass in the evening with Bishop Stephen Blaire presiding. After the morning mass, she will be visiting the classrooms and talking to the students.

Sister Margo received her medical degree from Wright State Universty Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio where she graduated in 1990. By that time, she has been a precious Blood sister for more than 20 years.

“This is my third life,” she said with a laugh, commenting on her medical career, during a telephone interview Monday night while she was in San Francisco.

First, she was an educator. Then, in her second life, she was in pastoral work serving as a hospital chaplain and director.

She holds a degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling with concentration in geriatrics.

“I think God placed me in the right place,” she said when she decided to pursue her medical studies.

“I don’t know if they encouraged me,” she said about her decision and referring to her religious order.

But, she explained, “Together we discerned with God what is best to God’s people.”

Her sisters in the order told her, “If you can get it, we’ll support you.”

Wright University was the only school where she was interviewed for her medical studies and was easily accepted. Her education was funded by a tuition reimbursement program through the congregation.

“I’m eternally grateful that I’m a physician,” she said.

She is currently working at St. Bernadine’s Medical Center in San Bernardino County as a community outreach physician.

“They created this job for me,” she said, which involves working with what she described as the “vulnerable population” – the homeless, the uninsured, and the uninsured.

Her medical calling has exposed her to a lot of human situations involving the “marginalized” in society.

“I’ve done some minor surgeries and they paid me $40,” she said.

As a member of a religious order who is also a physician, Sister Margo belongs to a very elite small group.

“We’re a very small group of doctors who are priests and nuns,” she said. They actually have a national group that meets once a year. Some teach in residency programs, she said.

Counseling is something that comes naturally to her though. But, she said, “I’m an educator from the word get go.”

Sister Margo’s family moved to Mendota, Calif., during her second year at Manteca High School when her father, who worked at Spreckels Sugar, was transferred there. Both parents are deceased. Her sister Shirley, who is seven years older, lives in Florida. Her brother, Robert, lives with his wife Shirley in Fullerton. Robert still maintains some connection with Manteca. He owns a vacation home at Turtle Beach near the old Oakwood Lake Resort in Manteca.

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