At just two years apart in age, the McDermott sisters did many things together as they grew up in the Philadelphia area. That closeness would continue throughout much of their lives as the two young women both entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill and began their lives of ministry in close proximity to one another.

Last month, Sisters Rose and Peg McDermott bid farewell to the Diocesan Chancery staff in Lawrenceville, after serving there together in their last assignment before retirement and relocation to their community’s motherhouse in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

For the last 10 years, Sister Rose worked in the diocesan Office of Clergy and Consecrated Life as diocesan delegate for religious and a teacher in the deacon formation program, while Sister Peg devoted eight years of service to the Department of Administrative Services. This work would cap off over 70 years of ministry, much of it spent in education.

The McDermott sisters attended Catholic schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese before entering religious life. While both hold master’s degrees in religious studies, Sister Peg earned certification in spiritual direction at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., and a certificate in biblical studies at Georgetown University, Washington. Sister Rose earned a doctorate in canon law at The Catholic University of America, Washington.

Both Sister Peg and Sister Rose worked in grammar schools and high schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington.

While Sister Peg went on to become a director of religious education in the Newark Archdiocese, Sister Rose pursued teaching in higher education including serving as a canon law professor in The Catholic University of America. Sister Rose was a CUA faculty member during Bishop O’Connell’s tenure as the university’s president. Years later after becoming Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, he invited Sister Rose to join him in the Diocese. He later invited Sister Peg to join the Chancery staff following her retirement as a director of religious education in Newark.

The Chancery celebrated the sisters with a brunch and presentation of gifts that included a video tribute from the entire Chancery family.

“You can be assured that you will be in our prayers as we pray daily for all those who we appreciate and love. So Trenton has been a very good experience for us, ” Sister Peg said.

Sister Rose agreed, “Yes it has for both of us. I simply can say ‘Amen to that!’”

In commemoration of the sisters’ combined decades of ministry, the diocesan Department of Multimedia Production produced a six-part video series in which Sister Rose and Sister Peg share stories about their family, vocations in religious life and various work experiences. The six videos can be found on and will play on diocesan social media and over the coming weeks.