In Memory

Sister M. Ida McDonnell, IHM

September 11, 1919 – March 14, 2009

Sister M. Ida McDonnell, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on September 11, 1919 in Pittsburgh, PA, and given the name Catherine Elizabeth. She was the daughter of the late John and Catherine Gallagher McDonnell. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1937, made her temporary profession of vows on May 7, 1940, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1943.

Sister Ida was a teacher for more than fifty years. She served at the following schools: St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1940 to 1943; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC, from 1943 to 1945; St. Mary Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1945 to 1947; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1947 to 1952; St. Patrick Elementary School in Oneida, NY, from 1952 to 1955; Holy Rosary High School in Scranton, PA, from 1955 to 1957; Most Holy Rosary High School in Syracuse, NY, from 1957 to 1966; St. Patrick High School in Olyphant, PA, from 1966 to 1968; Pocono Central Catholic High School in Cresco, PA, from 1977 to 1982; Bishop Canevin High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1982 to 1986; and St. Rosalia Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1986 to 1992.

Sister Ida served as principal at the IHM Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho from 1968 to 1971; and St. Rose High School in Carbondale, PA, from 1971 to 1977.

She also served as the librarian at Sacred Heart High School in Carbondale, PA, from 1992 to 1999.

From 1999 to the time of her death, Sister Ida was a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and at Our Lady of Peace Residence.

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

She was preceded in death by five brothers, John, Thomas A., Thomas L., Harry, and Reverend Bernard J.; and three sisters, Mary Cooney, Anne B. and Grace.

She is survived by two nieces, Carol Jakub of Dale City, VA, and Mary Jane Keel of Fort Smith, AK; and two nephews, John McDonnell and Charles Cooney, both of California.

The funeral will be Friday, March 20, 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, March 19, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:30 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 2009 issue

Sister Ida met the definition of a true friend: thoughtful, courteous, helpful, loveable and loyal. Although she was known to like fun (cheering the Pirates and Steelers both at home and away), she was also known as a brilliant, prayerful and deeply spiritual woman. In her senior year at Saint Rosalia High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her mathematical genius was recognized by all the other outstanding mathematicians who knew her. It had been said that no problem, as yet, had been discovered, which she could not solve.

Sister Ida, as principal of IHM Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, received a special tribute and award during the Ninth Annual Idaho Sports Award banquet. Sister had produced many outstanding teams and athletes during her years at the academy. She was also honored at an event, hosted by the Principal’s Association, held at the Elk’s Club Lodge, Coeur d’Alene. She was the first woman to be elected president of the Association.

Whether east or west, Ida enjoyed life. Her jovial spirit was cause for many overcoming strife. Ida, your sudden death was a shock to all. You answered when you heard the Lord’s call. And now, indeed you are missed by all. May you rest in peace.

by Rosalian Armbruster, IHM

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