In Memory

Sister Catherine Donnegan, IHM

January 1, 1921 – April 13, 2015

Catherine Donnegan, IHM

Sister Catherine Donnegan, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. Doloritas) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died on Monday, April 13, 2015, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on January 1, 1921, in Scranton, PA, and was the daughter of the late Edmond J. and Anna L. Hickey Donnegan. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1942, made temporary profession of her vows on May 8, 1945, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1948.

Sister Catherine served as a teacher at the following schools: Marywood Seminary High School in Scranton, PA, from 1945 to 1948; St. John High School in Pittston, PA, from 1948 to 1952; St. Rose High School in Carbondale, PA, from 1952 to 1961; St. Paul High School in Scranton, PA, from 1961 to 1966; and St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1966 to 1967.

Sister served as librarian at St. Mary High School in Manhasset, NY, from 1967 to 1970; and at Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1988.

She also served as a physical therapy aide at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1988 to 1990; and as receptionist at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 1990 to 1999.

From 1999 until the time of her death, Sister Catherine served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in library science, and Master of Science degree in education and guidance, both from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, James and Raymond, and a sister, Janet Donnegan Lilly.

She is survived by two nieces, Karen Lilly Rodella of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Paula Lilly Gittins of King of Prussia, PA. She is also survived by grandnieces and grandnephews.

The funeral will be Friday, April 17, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Thursday, April 16, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Friday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2015 issue

“God has shown you what is good. To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

This call and challenge from the prophet Micah, one of Catherine’s favorite scriptures, is the vision by which she ordered her life. Born and raised in Scranton, Catherine was the daughter of Edmond and Anna Donnegan. Catherine was the surviving sibling of two brothers, James and Raymond, and her sister, Janet. Catherine was a beloved aunt of Paula Gittins and her husband, Bill, and their her children, Kate and Kara, and Karen Rodella and her husband, Frank, and their children Anne, Jane, and Paul.

“To act justly” is truly how Catherine spent her life in ministry as well as in community and with her family. A high school teacher and librarian for the greater part of her life and then in her later years an acquisitions librarian at Marywood College, Catherine was a presence that was all inclusive, loving and affirming. Her ministry and kindness toward her students, colleagues and close family members manifested her love of each new family member, student or colleague. Her joy in meeting the “Book Sellers” or Jobbers, eager to learn latest trends, and her love of talking over with friends the latest political or church issue in the news, gave evidence of her desire to act justly or rightly.

Living the “call to love tenderly” captures even more of the truth of Catherine’s life. There is so much more to describe and smile about than to simply say Catherine was a teacher or a librarian. It was her love of people and her smile, her joy that drew near each person who crossed paths with her or came to see her. Ever an avid reader, Catherine is remembered best by her chair and desk—surrounded by newspapers, filled with books to read, articles to clip and send to a friend for comments or future conversation, or simply as evidence that she was thinking of you.

“To walk humbly with your God” very well describes Catherine’s life and days. She was truly just plain herself, interested in each person she met and enlivened by their story. At Our Lady of Peace Residence, her ministry of service and prayer was simply to be offering her love of reading to those who could no longer read by reading to them a book or an article from the Times or America.

In so many ways Catherine bore the sorrows of her own life, her family and friends. She had little memos or Post-it notes around her room reminding her and those who came to see her to trust in God. Trust in God. “This is what God wants of you: to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God.”

by Sister Patricia Tippen, IHM

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