“It’s been wonderful… I’m always amazed at the different threads that seem to come together every day. It couldn’t have been planned; it’s all arranged by our loving Father. It’s exciting and very fulfilling, and I’m always being gently surprised.”
Sister Ruth Marie O’Donnell, born in Port Arthur, Ontario, entered Maryknoll in 1951 after ten years of studies at Toronto Conservatory of Music and a Phm.B. at Ontario College. Her first assignment found her in the Bronx for a year, teaching seventh grade. Then, in 1955, she set out for Hawaii, where she eagerly continued her educational ministry by teaching high school religion, biology, chemistry, and physics.
Three years later, Sister Ruth Marie was assigned to the Hong Kong/Macau Region, where, after language study, she helped to establish a pharmacy at the Maryknoll Hospital in Hong Kong.
In 1969, Sister returned to the U.S. to work briefly in Maryknoll’s Bethany Community before beginning a twenty year ministry in Boston’s Chinatown. During these years of dedicated love and service, Sister did catechetical and pastoral work, served as the recording secretary of the Chinese-American Civic Association, presided as a board member of the South Core YMCA, and joined the CACA Multi-Service Advisory Community and Adult Education Community. She was also a Charter member of Pagoda Park Recreational Development and an Administrator of the Maryknoll Boston Chinatown Center, which, among other services, offers English classes to immigrants in the hopes of aiding their transition to life in the U.S. In 1987, Sister Ruth Marie also involved herself in a Bio-Safety Committee at Tufts University, working with recombinant rDNA.
Sister retired to Monrovia in 1993 and returned to the Center one year later. There she remains today, teaching piano and contributing her love and prayers to her beloved Maryknoll.