“I know well the plans I have for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

~ Jeremiah 29:11

These words are a reflection of the past 25 years for me. I am truly grateful to God, my family, my Dominican community for the love, support, challenges, and encouragement.

On April 20, 1955, Mary Loretto Donnelly was the second child born to Charles and JoAnn Donnelly in New York, NY. Actually, Mary’s birth almost took place in the backseat of a speeding New York City taxi cab on its way to Saint Vincent’s Hospital! Mary moved to Birmingham, Michigan when she was nine years old. She attended Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (Forest Hills, NY), Holy Name School (Birmingham, MI) Marian High School (Birmingham, MI), and Aquinas College (Grand Rapids, MI).

Mary graduated from Aquinas College in May, 1977 as a history major/English minor, as well as a provisional secondary teaching certificate. Unable to find a teaching job, Mary spent the next nine years in retail, spending 8 of those years as a manager of Circus World Toys and one year working for Book World.

The decision to enter religious life did not come easy for Mary, yet after much wrestling with God she entered the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids in 1986. Mary’s ministries have been with college-aged women and men, first at Saint Paul Campus Parish in Big Rapids, MI where she served as campus minister and pastoral associate for nine years. While serving as formation director for the Congregation, she continued to be involved with college-aged students by teaching as an adjunct theology professor at Aquinas College, as well as working with the campus ministry department. Currently, Mary is serving as Rector of Pangborn Hall at the University of Notre Dame. Mary enjoys reading, walking, photography, listening to and making music, spending time with friends, and watching movies.


Sister Mary Donnelly’s religious ministry working with college-aged students began 35 years ago. For the past 16 years, she served at the University of Notre Dame as a Rector. Formerly, she served as formation director for the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids and as adjunct faculty at Aquinas College in the theology department. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College, a master’s degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry from Western Theological Seminary.