A memorial Mass for Sister Eileen Donovan was celebrated at
the Theresa Center Chapel at the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Lemay
Feb. 23. Sister Eileen, a former teacher, neighborhood organizer and
social service provider, died Feb. 7 at age 78.
Born in Boston, her family later moved to California where she entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
came to Sancta Maria in Ripa in Lemay and began her college studies. In
1959, she was received into the novitiate and given the name, Miriam
Daniel. She professed first vows in 1960 and final vows in 1966. She
later returned to her baptismal name.
Sister Eileen taught at St.
Dominic Savio School in Affton and the Notre Dame Tutorial/Learning
Center in Lemay. She taught at Althoff High School in Belleville, Ill.,
and was an assistant principal and teacher in California.
than 25 years, Sister Eileen was an advocate for people who are poor
and marginalized of St. Louis. She worked with the Penrose Park
Neighborhood Association, managed the College Hill Neighborhood
apartments and began the Renaissance Housing Corporation to provide
housing for low-income families. She taught a weekly Bible class and led
religious services for inmates at the St. Louis Medium Security Prison.
She was an assistant program director at the Society of St. Vincent de
Paul. She also ministered as a counselor at the St. Clair County Mental
Health Center in East St. Louis, Ill., and was executive director of Our
Lady’s Inn in St. Louis.
In 1991, Sister Eileen received the
Women of Achievement Award for Human Welfare sponsored by KMOX Radio and
the Suburban Journals. This award recognized her work on land use and
housing development in the inner city. Sister Eileen worked for a year
as a legislative assistant to a state representative. She ran for the
St. Louis School Board of Education in 1987 and was the peace and
justice coordinator for the Society of Mary for two years. She tutored
students at Saint Louis University for three years.
Survivors include a sister, Dorothy Broderick of Rancho Mirage, Calif. She donated her body to SLU School of Medicine.