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Obituary | Sister Mary Ellen McDonagh, BVM

A funeral Mass for Sister Mary Ellen McDonagh, BVM, was celebrated Nov. 9 at the Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

Sister Mary Ellen, 67, died Nov. 3 at Caritas Center. Born in St. Louis, she attended the former Xavier High School in St. Louis. She entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1973 from Our Lady of Loretto Parish in north St. Louis County.

Sister Mary Ellen received a master’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University. She was a high school English and journalism teacher in Davenport, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago and Phoenix. She was a newspaper editor, a communications coordinator and an assistant administrator in Kansas City, Mo., and a peace and social justice advocate in Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago.

She was a member of the board of directors of the St. Louis chapter of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty and the board of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty. She worked for the Kansas City Interfaith Peace Alliance and volunteered at the Catholic Worker House in Kansas City, helping provide shelter and serving meals to people who were homeless. She traveled to Northern Ireland, Haiti, Ecuador and Guatemala to support ministries of education, health care and outreach. She was in Iraq bringing humanitarian aid just two weeks before the war began in 2003. A call to justice and peace, she said in a profile of her in Salt magazine, “is the primary call of a disciple of the nonviolent Jesus.”

Survivors include two stepsisters, Maryann Stoops and Catherine Graham, both of St. Louis. Burial was in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Dubuque.

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