Donna Mary Hart, IHM

Hart_DonnaSister Donna Mary Hart, IHM, 95, died Friday, Oct. 6, in the IHM Health Care Center, Monroe.

Sister Donna Mary was one of nine children of William and Jennie (Smith) Hart. She was born May 30, 1922, and was baptized Eleanor at St. Mary of Redford in Detroit. After attending St. Mary of Redford Elementary and High Schools, she graduated from St. Mary Academy, Monroe, in 1940. Eleanor entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe in 1945 and received the religious name Sister Donna Mary.

Sister Donna Mary, “Donna” as she was later known, earned a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, and set about her teaching ministry at St. Mary Academy and Detroit high schools, St. Francis de Sales and Immaculata. During the summers, she studied at Villanova University, earning a master’s degree. She taught at St. Thomas High School, Ann Arbor; Immaculate Heart of Mary High School, Westchester, Ill., and Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods, where she also served as principal.

The changes in the Church in the 1960s offered Sister Donna new ministries. She served in congregational leadership as Provincial of the Northeast Province; in adult religious education in a parish setting; and she completed a second master’s degree in pastoral studies (Loyola University, Chicago). She engaged the people of St. Martin de Porres, Warren; Church of the Holy Spirit, Hamburg; St. Mary Parish, Milford, and Prince of Peace Parish, West Bloomfield.

These positions added depth and knowledge to Sister Donna’s skills and prepared her to serve as an administrative team member of the IHM Motherhouse Resident Community and to coordinate the community’s Theological Education Project. Living in Livonia and downriver, she commuted to Monroe. In 2005, Sister Donna moved into the Motherhouse and continued to provide pastoral ministry as part of the IHM Pastoral Care Department. Even as her health declined, sisters and staff felt her pastoral ministry every day.

Sister Donna Mary is survived by her sister-in-law, Ann Hart, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Alan, Herbert, Robert, Frank and William; and sisters, Betty Brennan, Jeanne Hart and Sister Therese Martin, IHM.

Read her Remembering here.