Dominican Sisters of Houston
To Praise To Bless To Preach

Sister Mary Magdalen Hanel, O.P.

Sister Mary Magdalen Hanel, O.P.
Sister Rose Magdalen, O.P.

Sister Mary Magdalen was born in Cameron, Texas. She lived there with her family until she was in the first grade. At that time her family moved to Houston. She attended Aldine Elementary and then moved to Assumption Catholic School when it was built. She attended St. Agnes Academy for high school.

The wonderful sisters who taught her were inspiring. “They were dedicated to helping us learn both religious and academic subjects. The experiences provided us a wonderful background for life!” After high school Sister Mary Magdalen worked at the Veterans Administration. “Although I enjoyed the wonderful, supportive people I worked with, I felt this was not my calling.” After two months she left the VA and she entered the convent in September 1958. “I really believe it was my older sister who was responsible for helping me make the decision. She got a few of the sisters to call me and encourage me to make this step.”

For the past 54 years Sister Mary Magdalen has been teaching and having a wonderful time doing it.  She expresses so much love and gratitude. “There have been so many places, so many children and so many supportive principals, teachers and parents.”

Sister Mary Magdalen has taught every grade from pre-K to eighth grade at Queen of Peace Catholic School, Dominican Montessori, St. Anne Catholic School, Regis School for Boys, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School, St. Catherine’s Montessori, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School and Gross Elementary in Houston, Texas. She has also taught at Little Flower School in Port Acres, Texas; St. Patrick Catholic School in Lufkin, Texas and Our Lady of Fatima School Catholic School in Texas City, Texas.

Sister Mary Magdalen enjoyed teaching first and second grades the most. “You get to work with them as they are learning how to read and write. When they can do that they can do anything. It is so exciting!”

“I have had so many wonderful and memorable experiences.” In 1990 She was given the opportunity to visit the Holy Land. “It was so amazing. The Bible came alive.” She also recalls with great excitement her opportunity to study and contemplate the course studies of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with the founder Sofia Cavalletti.

Currently Sister Mary Magdalen is focusing on working at the motherhouse “keeping up the Dominican history” as their archivist.  She also continues to teach the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to the children of St. Catherine’s Montessori and serves on their Board of Directors.

She spends her free time working crosswords, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading, listening to music and watching movies. She enjoys gardening, cats and being with family and friends.

From notes submitted by and interview with Sister Mary Magdalen, O.P. 2014.