The relationship that exists between sisters is unlike any other. The best thing about having a sister is that you always have a friend. Today we come together to celebrate the life of a sister, aunt, cousin, friend, Eleanor Ann McDonnell, Aunt Dolly, a Sister of St. Joseph for over seventy years. Eleanor’s bond with her sister and friend, Joan, revealed Eleanor’s warmth, love and respect for all. We welcome all of our sisters, associates, Eleanor’s family and friends and our celebrant Msgr. Peter Pflomm as we remember Eleanor and celebrate this Eucharist as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for all.
Born to Johanna and John, Eleanor grew up in Queens and attended St. Stanislaus Parish School and Bishop McDonell High School where her love of books and reading was nurtured. Soon after graduation, Eleanor entered our congregation and ministered as a teacher in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island, also teaching CCD in these parishes.
She earned a Bachelor’s in History and in 1971, a Master’s in Library Science from Pratt Institute. She was inducted into the International Library Science Honor Society, Beta Phi Mu.
Eleanor’s love of books and her graduate education was all that she needed to minister as a Librarian in Sacred Heart Seminary, St. John the Evangelist, St. Anthony of Padua and for eleven years in St. Francis de Sales in Belle Harbor. She wanted to share her passion for reading and writing with the young. So, she initiated a Young Authors’ Program, helping children write and illustrate original story books. Respected in this field, Eleanor gave workshops on Young Authors’ and Library Programs in the Rockville Centre Diocese.
It was not all work for Eleanor. She loved her family and all of the holidays and celebrations shared. Excursions and unexpected adventures with friends including a rustic trip to the Delaware Water Gap (an unexpected heart-shaped tub included) created fond memories. Friends were dear to Eleanor especially her best friend and sister, Joan. They shared community life in this congregation and a bond that is now complete for all eternity.
Eleanor’s love of the beach and joy in walking nurtured Eleanor’s relationship with the God of all creation. Her deep faith and trust in a loving God shaped how she lived her life and how she related to others. She loved community life and our congregation and is remembered for her kindness and attention to others.
It is with certainty that we can all echo St. Paul’s words in the first reading of today: Wethank God for you Eleanor, confident that the one who began this good work in you has brought it to completion as you now enjoy eternal peace as you are united with all who loved you for all eternity.
Sister Eleanor Ann McDonnell, CSJ died on February 22, 2020 in the 71st year of her religious life.