Current Ministry Location – Maryknoll Sisters Center-Monrovia, CA
Carol Marie McDonald was born October 9, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Olivia F. (Neyer) McDonald and Robert H. McDonald. She had one brother, Robert Edward. Carol Marie graduated from Mt. Notre Dame High School Reading, OH in 1956.
Carol Marie entered Maryknoll September 2, 1958 at the Sisters Center in NY from Cincinnati, Ohio. She pronounced First Vows June 24, 1961 at the Center and Final Vows June 24, 1967 also at the Center. She gave service a the Center until 1963 when she received her first assigned to Chile. From 1963 – 1968 she taught primary school children and studied art at the Universidad Católica earning a B.A. in Art.
Returning to the Center in 1969, she gave service at the Center. While in the States she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, Mt. St. Joseph, OH in 1970 and an M.A. in Art Education in from the University of Cincinnati, OH in 1971.
Back in Chile in 1971, she taught art in high school in Talcahuano and worked in Santiago doing graphic design of materials used to train catechists. She also was a member of a reflection group in national and archdiocesan offices of catechetics and gave courses for religion teachers, adult catechists, and Basic Ecclesial Communities.
Then, back in the Center in NY in 1981, she gave service in various departments and earned a Master of Arts-Religious Studies from the Maryknoll School of Theology, Maryknoll, NY.
In 1981, Sister Carol Marie was assigned to Panama where she marveled at the beauty and diversity of the Panamanian people. “We have so many ethnic groups in this tiny country–the diversity is nothing less than fascinating.” She went to the Apostolic Vicariate of Darien, an isolated rural area, working with basic ecclesial communities and collaborating in training programs and material for pastoral teams throughout the vicariate. She also taught Scripture and theology in the University of Santa Maria la Antigua in both Colon and Panama City.
From this green jungle, Sister Carol Marie moved to Las Mañanitas on the outskirts of Panama City. People had migrated there from the rural areas. She concentrated on two communities, one with no road, electricity or water, and the other a housing project of 400 tiny houses. While teaching at the area’s major seminary and pastoral institute, she felt that the two communities in a poor neighborhood “grounded” her in a good way.
Workshops in creativity brightened the neighborhood summers with theater, puppetry and even marvelous murals that now grace some institutions. “I appreciate space and time for creative work and fostering creative work in others,” said Sister Carol Marie.
After 26 years in Panama, Sister was “loaned” for a year to the El Salvador region to help with designing a self-help cottage industry involving HIV/AIDS patients and their families. The “loan” changed to an assignment to El Salvador in 2009.
While in El Salvador, Sister Carol Marie shared her background in scripture with the group, Biblista Popular (BIPO), which translates as The Bible in Community. This program provided on-going biblical formation for lay leaders from parishes or Christian communities, giving seven one-day workshops and a week-long intensive workshop each year. The participants left equipped to reproduce the sessions in their own communities. The program provided a much needed service for parish leaders, especially from the rural areas, as the parishes and dioceses were unable to provide this opportunity. They also published a monthly magazine for the communities.
Sister also worked with CINDE (Developing Communities for Small Children). This program provided day care, kindergarten and after-school programs for the children and also programs in parenting, money management, etc. for the women whose husbands were only marginally present. Originally, because of the conflict and later because of massive migration in search of employment. Sister Carol Marie worked with a program of economic alternatives with a group within CINDE; she said they were “spunky ladies.”
Sister Carol Marie currently resides at the Maryknoll Sisters Convent in Monrovia, CA, where she retired in 2014.