Biographies

Sister St. Bernard Donnelly, MM

Born: September 21, 1887
Entered: October 15, 1927
Died: January 26, 1970

News of Sister Mary St. Bernard’s death at Bethany on January 26 will come as a surprise to Sisters who had not heard of her hospital sojourn and failing strength in the past month. Sister’s death came without warning. She had received the Sacrament of the sick on January 2nd, and was well prepared in mind and soul.

Sister Mary St. Bernard (Margaret Donnelly) was born in Chicago on September 21, 1887. Sister held a degree of Bachelor of Philosophy from Loyola University and received teacher training at Chicago Teachers’ College. She became interested in religious life and the missions during her fifteen years of teaching in the Chicago schools, and her joy and gratitude on being accepted by Maryknoll for entrance on October 15, 1927, were great. At that time she wrote to Mother Mary Joseph, “I feel like an old house with a new coat of stucco. The interior decorations, dear Mother, I turn over to you, so that when the day comes on which I am to go home, we may have a soul to present to the dear Master, which may cause Him perhaps a tiny smile of pleasure.”

Sister was professed on April 30, 1930, and about this time was awarded a Master of Arts degree at Mt. St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Maryland. Her mission assignments took her to Los Angeles, Hawaii and then to Hong Kong, where her apostolate of teaching for ten years came to an end with internment during World War II. In August 1942 she was repatriated and returned to the Motherhouse, where she became a member of the faculty of Maryknoll Teachers College, and in this position, guided Maryknoll Sister-teachers for twenty years.

Sister accepted her problems of health with grace and courage.

We think of Sister St. Bernard as one whose life expressed a deep gratitude to God and to everyone with whom she came in contact. She felt that the Gloria of the Mass, prayed daily, expressed her gracious thanks to God for His goodness.

The Mass of the Resurrection, for Sister, will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 28. Sister will be remembered prayerfully by all of her Sisters who knew her and loved her.