SisterMary Donnelly

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.

2022 – 35 Years a Sister

Prayer Ministry

Pray for world peace

Sr. Mary Donnelly (back row, center) with the residence hall team that guides the community of women at Flaherty Hall at Notre Dame. At least two of them are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Photo by Jennifer Mayo/University of Notre Dame)

Sister Mary completed her Doctor of Ministry degree in June 2000. Her dissertation is entitled, “St. Dominic Meets Generation X”.

In ministry with Sister Mary Donnelly, OP

Her Story: Sister Inspiration – Sr. Mary Donnelly, OP


Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids 2012 Jubilarians