Obituary: Benedictine Sister Grace Donovan

Benedictine Sister Grace Donovan, 94, died March 29 at St. Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud. A Eucharist of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, April 4, at 3 p.m. at Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery.

Friends may call at St. Scholastica Convent on Wednesday, April 3, from 1 to 4:30 p.m., or for a vigil prayer service at 7 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Thursday.

Sister Grace (Mary Mark) was born April 29, 1924, to Patrick and Grace (Lemieux) Donovan in Chicago, Illinois, the third child in a family of five.

She earned a bachelor’s degree at Wisconsin State Teachers’ College, La Crosse, Wisconsin, in history, physical education and social science. Before entering St. Benedict’s Monastery on Dec. 1, 1946, she taught history and physical education at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph.

She entered the novitiate as Sister Mary Mark on June 17, 1947, made first profession July 11, 1948, perpetual monastic profession on July 11, 1951, and celebrated her golden and 60th anniversaries of profession in 1998 and 2008 respectively. In January 1983, she reverted to her baptismal name.

Sister Grace’s education included a master’s degree in history from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, and a certificate in gerontology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She also attended Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Colorado State University and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Education was a significant aspect of Sister Grace’s ministry. She taught history at Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, and at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, where she also served as dean of students and vice president of student affairs. At St. Benedict’s Monastery, Sister Grace served as community living coordinator for four years.

After her year of study in gerontology, she was employed by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud as director of nutrition centers and services to the aged. On retiring from that post in 2006, she volunteered in the foster grandparent program at St. Augustine’s school, St. Cloud.  In 2014, Sister Grace moved to St. Scholastica Convent where she was involved in a ministry of prayer for the prioress and the work of Catholic Charities.

In addition to the sisters in her Benedictine community, Sister Grace is survived by her sister, Patricia Lynch, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by three brothers: Edward, John and Raymond.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Benson Funeral Home. Please direct memorial gifts to the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict Retirement Fund.


Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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