Sister Ann Donohue, SSJ, hails from the beautiful hills of Bradford, where she recalls her parents being the earliest source of inspiration.
“My first recognition of being called to consecrated life came from my parents [the late Timothy and Regina (Hill) Donohue] who always referred to the Sisters of St. Joseph, who taught them, with great esteem,” she says.
In her early years, she was influenced by several Sisters of St. Joseph: Sisters Aloyse, Rose Agnes, Marcella,Catherine Ann, Marietta, Virginia Ann, Mary Margaret and Lawreace.
Another profound influence was Ann Carlin, a local woman who ran a religious bookstore and lending library, “The Rosary Studio.” Carlin recommended titles to the young Ann and asked for her thoughts when she returned books.
“Her efforts enriched my spiritual life by introducing me in high school to then-current spiritual writers like Thomas Merton and Caryll Houselander,” Sister Ann recalls. “She was, in essence, my first spiritual director.”
The call to religious life persisted from grade school through her years at St. Bernard High School in Bradford, and into Villa Maria College. She finally decided to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph.
“I felt at home,” she says. “I knew this was God’s direction for me.”
After graduating from Villa, she continued her education at St. Bonaventure University, Olean, N.Y. Formerly Sister Mary Timothy, she spent most of her religious life in education, both teaching and in administration.
She taught at Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Peace, St. Patrick, St. John the Baptist and Villa Maria Academy schools, all in Erie; St. Bernard, Bradford;and Notre Dame in Hermitage.
Upon returning to Erie, Sister Ann ministered at Saint Mary’s Home of Erie. She also served her congregation as coordinator of Lifelong Mission and doing activities with retired sisters. She continues to volunteer in the Erie community.
“My deepest desire is to find God in all my longings and to walk with God hand-in-hand with all the dear neighbors whom God has given me to love,” she says.