Sister Mary Anne O’Donnell

Sister Mary Anne O'DonnellSister Mary Anne O’Donnell
Current Ministry Location – Center

Mary Anne O’Donnell was born March 2, 1935 in St. Albans, NY, to Helen (Clarke) and Harry O’Donnell. She had 1 sister: Sr. Maureen O’Donnell, OP and one brother: Harry. She graduated from Dominican Commercial High School in Jamaica, Queens, NY in 1953 and worked as a secretary in New York City before joining Maryknoll.

Mary Anne entered the Maryknoll Sisters September 2, 1953 at the Center in NY. She professed First Vows March 7, 1956 at the Center and Final Vows March 7, 1962 also at the Center.

Sister Mary Anne’s first mission assignment was giving Congregational Service for the Society. She was secretary to the Superior General of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers from 1956 -1960 and then studied at Maryknoll Teachers College where in1964 she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Maryknoll Teachers College.

In 1964 Sister Mary Anne was assigned to Africa where for seven years she helped pioneer, as administrator and teacher, the Shinyanga Commercial Institute in Tanzania, a business school for young Tanzanian men and women.  The student-edited paper described her: “She is all in one. Seated in the office, Sister is principal of the Institute; on the trip to Songwa Dam for the picnic, Sister is our driver; on some Saturday evenings Sister is an elegant waltzer to Congolese music….”

From 1972 – ’74, Sister was assigned to the staff of the Maryknoll Sisters Mission Institute. In 1975 Sister Mary Anne earned a Master of Arts-Theology from the Maryknoll School of Theology. And in 1982 she earned a Master of Science-Pastoral Counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY. The same year, she and Father Jack Sullivan were appointed Directors of the Maryknoll Lay Missioner Program to recruit and train lay people for mission. Of this experience, Mary Anne said, “I feel a part of the whole Church in mission – priests, Brothers, Sisters and lay people and this is energizing, enriching and hopeful for the future.”  In 2010, she was presented with a plaque inscribed: “The Maryknoll Lay Missioners on their 35th anniversary honor Mary Anne O’Donnell for her dedication to sending laity to overseas mission and for her work on the First Lay Mission Coordinating Team.”


From 2006 – 2011, Sr. Mary Anne served as Congregational Personnel Director, Center Coordinator, and General Assembly Task Force member. In our out-patient care department she drove Sisters to medical appointments. Her retirement in 2012 still found her doing many tasks at the Center.