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Remembering Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue

An undated photo of Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue

An undated photo of Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue

Several months ago, a colleague asked people through social media which sisters they wanted to know more about.

Some of our Throwback Thursday blogs have been dedicated to the sisters on that list, including this blog, as this week, we will look back on the life of Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue.

Sister Gertrude Louise was born Grace Ann on Jan. 23, 1904, in Cannelburg, Indiana. In 1900, Cannelburg, located in Daviess County, had a population of 280. As of 2010, the population of the town was 135.

Sister Gertrude Louise entered the Sisters of Providence on Dec. 7, 1921, from St. Patrick in Montgomery, Indiana. She professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1929. She was a Sister of Providence for 66 years.

Sister Gertrude Louise earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Another undated photo of Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue

Another undated photo of Sister Gertrude Louise Donahue

She taught in schools in Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Sister Gertrude Louise officially retired from teaching in 1973, but then began tutoring students at what was then known as the Gibault School for Boys, located in Terre Haute.

According to Sister Helen Joanne Godsil (RIP), in her later years, Sister Gertrude Louise dedicated a special part of her “prayers and interest” to Notre Dame football and the Boston Celtics.

Sister Helen said Sister Gertrude Louise’s “generosity and happy spirit were inspirations to us all.”

Sister Gertrude Louise died on Sept. 6, 1988. #‎throwbackthursday ‪#‎tbt

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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  1. Avatar Carol Nolan Nolan, SP on September 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you, Jason! Sister Gertrude Louise taught at St. Joseph Academy, Galesburg Illinois, for about 15 years. She taught me in 5th and 6th grades. Sister was a terrific teacher, and we loved her very much! I remember her especially for her excellence in teaching us classroom music (which we had every year in grade school from our classroom teachers). We sang in two parts in 5th grade and in three parts in sixth grade. I think this is rather amazing for a bunch of kids in a pretty heterogenic group in a small town school.
    Sister lost her vision toward the end of her life, perhaps to macro. I know she felt it terribly.
    Thank you for writing this story! (Nice photos…)

  2. Avatar Judy Copeland on September 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I will never forget this beautiful Sister with the brown eyes. I met her at St. Patrick’s in Indianapolis many years ago. She was my second mother, my confidante and my best friend.

    A few days before she died, she promised to look down on me from heaven. I know she is still looking after me and I hope to be reunited with her someday.

    Judy Copeland

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