Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Marilyn Donnelly, CSJ, 90


Sister Marilyn Donnelly, CSJ, 90, died on March 10, 2021, at St. Joseph's Provincial House in Latham.

Sister Marilyn (Sister Michael Ann) was born in Binghamton, N.Y. on October 14, 1930, the daughter of Daniel and Mary Sullivan Donnelly. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 72 years.

After graduating from St. Patrick's High School in Binghamton, Sister Marilyn entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1948. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on August 15, 1956. Sister Marilyn earned a bachelor's degree from The College of Saint Rose in 1968 and pursued graduate studies at The College of Saint Rose and Fordham University.

Sister Mariyln’s ministry included teaching and administration in elementary and middle schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. She loved teaching and her students, especially her kindergarteners. After serving as principal for a few years, she opted to go back to teaching kindergarten because she missed "the little ones." From 1986 until 2006, she served in St. Patrick's Parish, Syracuse both in the school and later as a parish volunteer. In 2006, Sister Marilyn retired at St. Joseph's Provincial House in Latham.

Sister Marilyn was a beloved, creative teacher and principal who influenced all those whose lives she touched. She shared her many gifts with her students, other teachers and became a friend to so many. One of the awards she received was the Outstanding Teacher Award of the Federation of Syracuse Catholic School Parents. One nomination described her as "a poet, artist, and musician who brings all these talents to her classes." She also received an outstanding poetry composition award from the Poetry Guild for her poem, "The Fir Tree in the Forest."

Sister's family remembers how the family looked forward to her visits, reminiscing about her positive spirit, the stories she shared and her ability to brighten their days. Her nieces and nephews and then the grandnieces and nephews continued their family bonds with her life. Sister Marilyn's presence in community was a gift to all those who lived with her. She loved to play the piano and sing. This was not only a gift in her classroom, but also one that she generously shared with her sisters most recently at the Provincial House.

One sister recalled how she radiated kindness and had an infectious smile. That kindness was especially evident with those needing support and care in times of illness. In addition to her parents, Sister Marilyn was predeceased by her brothers, Daniel and Joseph; and her sisters, Catherine Lukes, Alice Pierson, and Mary Blake. She is survived by her nieces, Kathryn Reilly, and Mary Pierson, and by many grandnieces and nephews. Her memory is precious to the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Due to the continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Marilyn at this time. A memorial Mass and celebration of her life will be held at a later date.