On Aug. 17, 2015, Sister Mary Lourdes Donovan, OSF, passed away at the health care center of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany.
She was born Bernice Anne Donovan on Aug. 17, 1928, in Utica, the daughter of Gerald F. and Anne O’Hare Donovan of Utica
Growing up in Utica, Sister Mary Lourdes attended grade school from 1934 to 1942 at the Blessed Sacrament and spent her high school years at Utica Catholic Academy, graduating in 1946.
Sister Mary Lourdes was received into the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse on Aug. 15, 1947, and professed her final vows on Aug. 16, 1954. The mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany energized her life for more than 65 years. After joining the congregation, she pursued college courses at St. Elizabeth Teacher’s College – (now part of St. Bonaventure University) in Allegany, while also serving as a student X-ray technician at St. Francis Hospital in Olean.
She went on to study at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., from 1952 to 1961, earning her bachelor’s degree. During that time, she also served as the X-ray supervisor at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Camden, N.J.
Sister Mary Lourdes focused her ministry in the field of hospital administration. From 1963 to 1971, she served as assistant administrator and administrator of St. Anthony›s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and served on the Board of Trustees of the Florida Hospital Association. She later served as administrator of St. Joseph Villa in the Catskills.
Over the years, she accepted calls to serve as president of corporations for several health care facilities and sat on several boards of trustees. Sister Mary Lourdes served as provincial of St. Joseph Province in Tampa, and as general minister of the congregation.
Sister Mary Lourdes was instrumental in establishing Hope House in 1992, a drop-in hospitality center and shelter for the homeless in Utica, which had a positive impact on many lives. In 1994, she accepted a new assignment, serving as administrator of the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany, where she served until 2002.
Sister Mary Lourdes was predeceased by her parents and a brother, Msgr. William J. Donovan. She is survived by her sisters, Sister Bernadette Mary and Sister Geraldine (formerly, Sister Maria Vianney); and a brother, the Rev. J. Michael Donovan.
Services were held on Aug. 20 at the chapel of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, followed by burial in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany.