Sister Marilou MacDonald (formerly Sister Joseph Dolores, IHM) died in Camilla Hall on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in the 71st year of her religious life.
Marilou was born on October 25, 1933. Her parents, Joseph A. and Louise (Loughlin) MacDonald and their three children lived in New York. Marilou attended the following elementary schools: Woodrow Wilson in Baldwin, L.I., New York (1939-1940); St. Agnes, Rockville Centre, New York (1940-1942); Immaculate Conception, Monrovia, California (1942-1943); Lake Arrowhead School, Lake Arrowhead, California (1943-1945); and St. Bernardine, San Bernardino, California (1943-1947). Marilou attended Seton Hall High School in Patchogue, New York (1947-1951). Later, while in Community, Marilou earned her A.B. degree in Theology from Immaculata College and her M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Glassboro State College.
Marilou entered our Congregation on September 8, 1951, from her home parish St. Patrick in Bay Shore, New York; Sister received her habit and her religious name, Sister Joseph Dolores, on March 10, 1952; (when given the opportunity to do so, Sister Joseph Dolores opted to return to the use of her baptismal name); Sister Marilou pronounced her First Vows on March 11, 1954.
For sixty-eight years — March 1954 through August 2022 — Sister Marilou served diligently and tirelessly in the ministry of Catholic Education. Whether Sister taught third grade children, led as an elementary school principal, served as the Superintendent of Schools, offered religious instruction/enrichment, or tutored children, Sister never wavered in her commitment to bring out the best in those she served.
Sister Marilou instructed elementary aged children from March 1954 through the school year ending in 1976. Sister served at St. Dorothy, Drexel Hill; St. Louis, Yeadon; St. Frances Cabrini, Fairless Hills; Sacred Heart, Philadelphia; St. Rose of Lima, Philadelphia; Holy Family Harrisburg (Sister served as eighth grade teacher and principal); Holy Innocents, (Principal) Philadelphia; St. Francis Xavier, Philadelphia; and St. Bartholomew, East Brunswick, NJ.
In the fall of 1976 through August 1990, Sister Marilou served as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg. In the fall of 1990 through the school year ending 2000, Sister served as the Harrisburg Diocesan Superintendent of Schools.
In the fall of 2000 through the school year ending in 2022, Sister Marilou’s type of service changed but not the diligence and dedication she brought to the task. For 22 years Sister Marilou worked full time teaching children in grades K-8 religious instruction/enrichment.
At the tender age of eighty-nine, with full heart and hands, Sister entered our Apostolate of Prayer and Service community at Camilla Hall in August 2022. Sister Marilou continued her ministry of caring for others via prayer and conversation with our Sisters at Camilla Hall. Relatively shy of her 90th birthday, Sister Marilou entered eternal rest on May 23, 2023.
In addition to her IHM Community, her Sisters in Camilla Hall, Sister Georgine Marie Williamson, a most treasured friend, her brother Donald E. MacDonald and Sister’s nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews survive Sister. Sister’s dear parents Joseph A. MacDonald and Louise MacDonald (Loughlin) and her brother Joseph predecease Sister.
Reverend Dennis Gill celebrated Sister Marilou MacDonald’s Funeral Mass and delivered the homily. Reverend Monsignor Edward Quinlan, Reverend Michael Speziale, Reverend John Weber, Reverend Jon Burger, SSC, and Reverend Michael Callaghan, CM. joined Father Gill at the altar on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to:
Camilla Hall Nursing Home
IHM Mission Advancement Office
230 IHM Drive
Malvern, PA 19355