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Sister Karen Donahue

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Entered: September 8, 1961
Current Ministry: Institute Justice Team Member
Motto: Yes

In March 1962, during my postulant year, our Postulant Mistress, Sister Norella Hartnett, celebrated her silver Jubilee as a Sister of Mercy. I remember thinking how old she was (she was in her mid-40s!). Now, here I am celebrating 60 years as a Sister of Mercy.

As I said back in 2011, our God is a God of surprises. Looking back on that hot, humid Friday afternoon of September 8, 1961, never in a million years would I have imagined what my life as a Sister of Mercy has turned out to be. God’s ways are mysterious. After a somewhat checkered career in the classroom, I felt called to the newly emerging field of medical-moral issues. However, God had other plans. In 1977, I became the Sister of Mercy staff-person at 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago. This was the beginning of a ministry that has taken me, literally, to the far corners of the world.

Less than two months after our reception, Vatican II opened. The Council and later the Synod Document, Justice in the World, had a profound impact on me. Action on behalf of justice is a constitutive element of the preaching of the Gospel. This insight helped me to see our fourth vow in a new light. Visiting congressional offices, monitoring checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and standing in solidarity with immigrants on Capitol Hill became ways to address the systems and structures that lie at the root of poverty and oppression and hence to live out our fourth vow.

Along the way, I have been blessed by the love and support of wonderful companions in Mercy, and have had the opportunity to experience global Mercy. I thank God for these sixty graced years in Mercy.

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