Sister Maureen (Florence) Donovan

FLORENCE T. DONOVAN is the daughter of John and Loretta Carew Donovan. She was born on April 29, 1927, in Dubuque County, Iowa.


At age sixteen, Florence entered Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, as an aspirant. She professed her final vows to the order of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1950, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Mount St. Joseph, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Detroit. Before serving the families of  St. James School, Bay City, Michigan, she taught in Cincinnati, Ohio; Fayette, Ohio; Royal Oak, Michigan; Pueblo, Colorado; and Jackson, Michigan.

Sister Maureen arrived at St. James School in 1967 where she served as principal, teacher, and director of religious education in addition to her ministry to the greater parish community, including her work for the Christian service commission, food pantry, and parish council. She also served on the board of Catholic Family Service as well as numerous local and diocesanwide educational committees.

In 2011, the Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, recognized Sister Maureen with the Bishop Murphy Award for a lifetime of generous and loving service to God’s people.

“Sister Maureen has dedicated her entire life to passing on the faith. She has spent decades serving St. James School and Parish in Bay City, in her role as principal, teacher and director of religious education and also in her extraordinary outreach to the community. I am very grateful that Sister Maureen answered God’s call to religious life and that she has used her vocation to live and bear witness to the gospel of Christ in such a generous and loving way.”
~ Bishop Joseph Cistone

5 thoughts on “Sister Maureen (Florence) Donovan

  1. Sister Maureen went beyond for us students, and especially for us that are the hard ones. It was her love, kindness, patience, and Godly soul and heart that led us on the right path. Sister Pat and sister Maureen went above and beyond for us and taught us tough love and love skills needed. I will always love and miss them. I know they are happy seeing the progress I made in life and it was because of them.

  2. Hello – How is Sr. Maureen? I am her second cousin Melissa from Clinton, Iowa.
    My grandmother Mary (Carew) Shanahan and her mother Loretta (Carew) Donovan were sisters.
    I believe I met Sr. Maureen at 10 years old when my family traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for Father Paul’s elevation to bishop.
    Please pass along my greetings to Sr. Maureen. And does she know where our Carew ancestors hailed from in Ireland?
    Thank you
    Melissa Murphy ☘️💕 🇮🇪

  3. Hello,
    Sister Maureen was my Principal when I was in middle school at St. James. She also made it possible for me to complete my education at All Saints High School. Over the years, I have visited with her, as well as the other Sisters, during my infrequent visits to Bay City. I have the utmost respect and admiration for her. She is always in my heart. My husband and I are looking into making a modest donation in her name to the Sisters of Charity on a yearly basis.
    I am very blessed to have had her in my life.
    Thank you for this site.

    1. Hi Joan,
      Thank you for your kind words. Sister Maureen is a treasure who recently celebrated 75 years with the Sisters of Charity. She will be so pleased to know you found her here at DonovanTribe and of your generosity towards the Sisters of Charity.

      May you and your family have a joyous, blessed Christmas.

  4. I’ve had so much enjoyment getting to know my aunt. We talk on the phone and she has shared memories of Iowa and family. I always ask her ok before I post them here.

    When I was a kid, it was back when nuns did not travel unless special circumstances and only with permission from Mother Superior. And always in twos. I told her the first time I saw her was at Paul’s ordination. Until then I thought of her like Santa. People around me would mention her ( Gram Loretta ” I got a letter from Florence” “Sister is being sent to Royal Oak” etc) She had a presence BUT I’d never seen her. So the Santa comparison, some nice Person who sent me holy cards on my birthday.
    She is still very connected to Bay City St James. She’s been there since 1967. In her “retirement” she was still a presence at school, filling in when needed. She also worked to include seniors in social activity, her Christmas luncheon was an anticipated holiday event for Bay City seniors. Organizing/working on an arts and craft show . Whew!
    Love you Auntie.

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