Sister Ellen McDonald



Sister Ellen McDonald

Current Mission Location – Maryknoll Sisters Center- Maryknoll, NY

Ellen McDonald was born July 29, 1936 in Syracuse, NY to Sarah Ellen (Sinnott) McDonald and James W. McDonald.  She had 9 sisters: Sally, Kathleen, Coleen, Arlene, Maureen, Patricia, Sarah, Sheila and Theresa and 1 brother: James W. She graduated from St. John Evangelists High School, Syracuse in 1954. She earned a Diploma from the Center City Business Institute, Syracuse, NY in 1955.

Ellen McDonald entered Maryknoll at the Sisters Center in NY September 2, 1959 from Syracuse, NY. She pronounced First Vows June 24, 1959 at the Center and Final Vows June 24, 1968 in Panama. From 1962 to ’64 Ellen attended the Juniorate Program of classes and gave Congregational Service in various departments at the Center. In 1964 Sister Ellen earned a Certificate from the Coady Institute, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sister Ellen’s first mission assigned was to Panama in 1965 where she was served as personal secretary to the Holy Cross Bishop Marcos McGrath, in the newly created rural Diocese of Santiago de Veraguas in Panama. She later transferred to the Archdiocese of Panama where she was director of the Archdiocesan Vocation and Ministry Department, responsible for the formation of deacons and lay ministers and a special program promoting women in pastoral ministry.

In 1983 she earned a Bachelor of Arts-Religious Studies degree from LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY. And in 1985, a Master of Arts-Theology degree from the Maryknoll School of Theology, Maryknoll, NY.

In 1991, Sister Ellen worked with Maryknoll Father Jim Madden, MM in  founding the Maryknoll Affiliates, a movement that continues to mushroom in growth.

She also worked in the Maryknoll Sisters Development Department, sharing with donors the first-hand knowledge and experience of her visits to the Sisters missions around the world that our mission partners make possible.

Sister also served in Maryknoll Mission Archives for several years in the late 1990’s and was on a committee leading to the founding of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MLKM.)

In October 2002, Sister Ellen was elected Vice-president of the Maryknoll Sisters’ Congregation. She had been in Bolivia the previous year laying the foundations of a mission promotion and sending organization for Latin Americans sponsored by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society.

Sister Ellen currently serves as secretary of the Chi-Rho Community at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.