a 2002 talk that her mother died in childbirth when Donna was only 11 years old. She said: “I think death is the first and most devastating form of violence perpetrated on humanity. I still shout at God, saying, ‘even I could have planned it better!’ I think organized religions were invented to explain it and address it.” She grew up attending daily Mass, and she and her sister and brother all entered religious life–her brother Bill became a priest and her sister entered the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, though she later left.continue at Father Mazzuchelli Society
Donna entered the Sinsinawa Dominicans, the congregation that ran the high school she had attended on the south side of Chicago, in 1955, and professed her final vows in 1960, receiving in the same year a bachelor’s degree in Education and History from Madison’s Edgewood College, where president Sister Mary Nona McGreal was an important influence in her formation as a teacher–”Starting out and receiving a first ‘assignment’ to share a classroom for teaching and spend the other half of every day learning at Duchesne College just down the street from St. Cecilia’s Convent in Omaha I always carried in my heart her love for a good curriculum.” Donna’s education continued with master’s degrees in History from the University of Illinois-Champaign and in Administration from UW-Madison. She served as a Catholic school teacher and administrator until 1975. At that point, her life took a decisive left turn.
In 1974, Sister Donna, according to her talk at Harvard Divinity School in 2002, attended a conference sponsored by Chicago’s Association of Catholic Priests. One of the sessions was facilitated by Alinsky-trained organizer and Dominican Sister of St. Mary of the Springs Marjorie Tuite, and when Donna asked, “where’s the women’s group in Chicago?” Tuite, a truly key figure in setting up the feminist sisters’ extensive organizational networks, followed up encouraging that Donna start such a group, and offered help in any way possible.
Wow, excellent research Elizabeth.
Time to have the society do an article on the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Hmm, I already have one started....