Sister Thérèse Marie Donnelly, Sister James de Lourdes, was born October 11, 1928, in Manhattan, the only child of James and Anna Morris Donnelly. Thérèse attended Annunciation Elementary School, Cathedral High School, both in Manhattan, and College of Mount Saint Vincent for one year before entering the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 7, 1947. She earned a BA in History from College of Mount Saint Vincent and an MA in Modern European History from Fordham University.
Sister Thérèse served in active ministry for forty-nine years. Her thirty-six years in education began on the elementary level at Saint Francis of Assisi, Mount Kisco, Resurrection, Rye, Holy Name and Saint Francis Xavier, both in Manhattan. Teaching her specialty, history, on the high school level began at Elizabeth Seton School, Yonkers, for three years, and continued there with the evolution of the school into Elizabeth Seton College. For the next thirteen years, she was teacher and Chair of the Social Science Department and then became Director of Career Development and Placement. After co-directing the Planning and Research Office (PRO) of the Sisters of Charity for three years, Sister Thérèse fulfilled the roles of Coordinator of Intern Programs and Associate Director of Career Development and Placement at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Following a year of study at Weston School of Theology in Massachusetts, Sister Thérèse devoted nine years to health care ministry at what is presently known as Schervier Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the Bronx as a Pastoral Assistant, and at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Westchester, as Director and then Vice-President for Mission Integration. Though she retired from this full-time ministry in 1999, she remained at Saint Vincent’s Hospital for fourteen years as a volunteer for special administration projects. In 2013, she retired at Mount Saint Vincent Convent, moving in 2020 to Cabrini of Westchester where she died November 6, 2023, in the seventy-seventh year of commitment as a Sister of Charity of New York.
Sister Thérèse’s service at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Westchester, was recognized as a “real contribution to keeping the Charity charism alive.” Friends note that she was open to meeting new challenges by the choices she made and that she gave herself generously to whatever needed to be done. Her pleasant manner and quick smile were available to all. These virtues provide a window into the heart of a woman who shared her gifts lovingly.
Sister Thérèse, go now to your loving God who waits to welcome you home. Go “. . .convinced that neither death, nor life, . . . nor present or future things will be able to separate us from the love of God . . .” (Romans 8). Go in peace.