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Sister Ellen Mary MacDonell, OSF 1932-2022


Sister Ellen Mary MacDonell, who served 64 years in the health care field with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, died Dec. 27, 2022, at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, Allegany.

Ellen Mary MacDonell was born Feb. 7, 1932, in Judique North, Nova Scotia, Canada, to Archibald and Mary Fitzgerald MacDonell.

She attended grammar and high school in Judique North graduating from Judique Rural Consolidated High School in 1951. Following graduation, Ellen attended St. Martha School of Nursing in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where she received her RN degree in 1953. For the next five years, Ellen used her nursing skills at St. Francis Hospital in Miami, a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters.

Ellen entered the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany on Sept. 8, 1952, then professed her final vows on July 3, 1966. As an Allegany Franciscan, Sister lived and worked for 64 years sharing in the life and mission of the congregation.

 In 1961, Sister Ellen attended D’Youville College in Buffalo where she received a bachelor of science degree in Nursing. She furthered her education at Ithaca College and received her license as a nursing home administrator. In addition, she completed the Hospital Executive Development Program through the University of St. Louis.

Sister began her ministry in health care in congregational hospitals. In 1964, she served as director of Nursing Services at St. Francis Hospital, Olean, followed by three years in geriatric nursing administrator at Villa Mary Immaculate, Albany. In 1970, Sister Ellen returned to Olean where she served as the administrator of St. Joseph Manor, followed by supervisor of Mary’s Hall at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, Allegany, and nursing administrator at St. Joseph Hospital, Tampa, Florida.

Sister Ellen used her nursing skills for the next 20 years ministering to the poor, marginalized and elderly at Mary’s House in Philadelphia, St. Joseph Villa, Catskill, and in St. Francis Parish, Ft. Myers, Florida.

In 2005, Sister retired from active ministry and shared in community with Franciscan Sisters in Medford, Massachusetts. In 2014, she was warmly welcomed home to St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, where she became part of the Franciscan Crafters and shared her many talents in crocheting, quilting and outstanding seamstress.  

Sister Ellen is predeceased in death by her parents, three brothers: Leo, Lauchlin and Bernard MacDonell. She is survived by a brother, John MacDonell.

A funeral Mass took place Jan. 5, in the motherhouse chapel, followed by burial in St. Bonaventure Cemetery Allegany.