"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac


S. Maureen Donovan

Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Maureen Donovan died at the age of 96 in McLaren Bay Regional Hospital, Bay City, Michigan. Sister Maureen was born on April 29, 1927 to John J. and Loretta (Carew) Donovan in Bernard, Iowa. She was the sixth of nine children, six girls and three boys. She was a Sister of Charity for 79 years.

Sister Maureen grew up in rural, northeast Iowa. The Great Depression uprooted their family from the farm, taking them north to Lansing, Michigan, where her father found work. Sister Maureen attended St. Mary’s Cathedral School and St. Mary’s High School, Lansing, Michigan, feeling a closeness to the Sisters who had taught her in the new environment. She entered the Sisters of Charity in September 1943 during high school, joining the Aspirant Program with the support of her family.

Sister Maureen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1955 and a master’s in education from the University of Detroit in 1960.   

Sister Maureen’s ministries spanned more than 55 years in education, 21 as an elementary classroom teacher and 36 as principal. She began her years of service at St. Patrick, Cincinnati in 1945, teaching primary age children. In 1950 she went to St. Aloysius, Fayetteville, Ohio; next it was Resurrection, Cincinnati (1951-’55). From 1955-’56 she taught at the Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak, Michigan, followed by St. Bernadette, Amelia, Ohio. In 1960 she went West to St. Patrick, Pueblo, Colorado, and in 1966 she came to St. Mary, Jackson, Michigan, where she served as the school principal. 

It was in 1967 that Sister Maureen was to begin the rest of her educational ministry (35 years) in the school first opened by the Sisters of Charity in 1873, St. James, Bay City, Michigan. Under Sister Maureen St. James School offered innovative programs, new ways of doing things, based on individualized instruction in small groups, ever conscious of the growing number of both parents working outside the home. She was valued as a ‘hands-on’ principal. In a June 2002 letter of congratulations and good wishes to Sister Maureen, Bishop Kenneth Untener shared, “We’re glad you have stayed with us through three popes, three bishops and five pastors.” Choosing to retire filled Sister Maureen with peace and gratitude to God for the many years she was able to use her gifts and energy in the school ministry. She shared, “The Lord has blessed me abundantly and I am filled with gratitude for His presence and guidance throughout my life.”

For her retirement years Sister Maureen served the community through many parish ministries including Christian Service Commission, Parish Council, Food Pantry and Board of Catholic Family Service. Always in focus was Sister Maureen’s love for God’s poor, evident in both large and small ways. In 2011 she was the recipient of the Bishop Murphy Award, presented annually to a person who, through the example of their life, fulfills Jesus’ mandate to promote and pass on the faith. 

Dear friend Sister Marge Kloos reflected on Sister Maureen’s gifts: “a heart of gold, wisdom without end, unparalleled wit with an Irish sensitivity for finding humor in everything, clever thinker, eager protector of the most vulnerable and generous companion to those living in poverty. I will miss the twinkle in her eyes and the absolute joy she radiated.”

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