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Margaret O’Gara (1947-2012) was a regular member of the Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, from 1976 to 2012. She obtained her B.A. in English and Philosophy at Trinity College in Washington, DC in 1969, followed by her M.A.R. in Theology at Yale Divinity School in 1971. She completed her Ph.D. in Theology at USMC in 1980 and was promoted to Assistant Professor. She became Associate Professor in 1985, Professor in 1998, and Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto Chair in Systematic Theology in 2007.
O’Gara’s theological specialty was ecumenical theology, the personally engaged study of the divisions between the Christian churches for the sake of overcoming them. Besides her teaching, research, writing, and extensive public lecturing, she served on five official national or international dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and other churches: the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (1976-93); the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue (1983-2012); the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1994-2012); the Lutheran-Roman Catholic International Commission for Unity (1995-2007); and the Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (2008-2012). She was a member of Bridgefolk, a North American organization for dialogue between Roman Catholics and Mennonites (2002-2012). She served as president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists (1987-89) and the Catholic Theological Society of America (2007-2008). She was a member of the Toronto Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission (1988-2012). She was a board member of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (1990-2012). She served as the anglophone theological advisor to the delegation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at the World Synod of Bishops (2001). And she was chair of the Theology Department, Toronto School of Theology (2003-2005).
Besides roughly 80 articles, O’Gara published three books: Triumph in Defeat: Infallibility, Vatican I, and the French Minority Bishops (Catholic University of America Press, 1988), The Ecumenical Gift Exchange (Liturgical Press, 1998) and No Turning Back: the Future of Ecumenism (Liturgical Press, 2014).