June 13, 2016, River Forest, Illinois – Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, first woman President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, received an honorary doctorate from Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, during the University’s Spring Commencement exercises. Dominican University was founded in 1901 by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters.
Sister Donna Markham, left, with Dominican University President Donna M. Carroll. Photo Courtesy of Dominican University
A certified clinical psychologist, Sister Donna has held leadership positions in mental health agencies: the Behavioral Health Institute for Mercy Health, serving Ohio and Kentucky, and Southdown Institute, based in Ontario, Canada, and offering residential treatment for clergy and religious.
Sister Donna, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 2004 to 2010, received this special recognition “for her strong leadership and efforts to bring dignity, hope, and compassion to the most marginalized members of society.”
Sister Donna, for her part, noted her own sense of humility in receiving the award, especially at the time when the Church’s Year of Mercy coincides with the 800th anniversary of the Order of Preachers, Dominicans. She presented the 2016 graduates with eight words to accompany them into their future.
June 8, 2016, Niles, Illinois – Sister Sally Ormsby, OP, was recognized for her service and the contributions she has made to Notre Dame College Prep, an all-boys high school founded by the Holy Cross Brothers, where she has served as a religion teacher for nine years.
Sister Sally received the Rev. James d’Autremont, CSC, Award during the school’s graduation ceremonies. Named after the first principal of Notre Dame, the award is given annually to a faculty or staff member who “best exemplifies Father D’Autremont’s qualities of wisdom, strength, gentleness, and selfless service, a model for the Dons [students] of Notre Dame.”
“All of this was a big, big surprise to me,” Sister Sally said in an interview. “I had no idea.” Upon receiving the award, she said, she expressed her deep gratitude to the faculty and staff, who had nominated her among other peers and ultimately chosen her for the award.
Sister Sally also received acclaim from another source – the members of the Class of 2016. “The seniors write about who their favorite teacher is and who they learn the most from,” she explained. “I was privileged to be named their favorite teacher.”
Sister Sally has been teaching morality and Catholic Social Teaching to the juniors. “The first thing I try to teach them is that morality is a life skill, and that everybody should try to give help to other people in any way they can,” she said. “We all have that responsibility as adults.”
A 2016 Golden Jubilarian – celebrating 50 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister – Sister Sally also received recognition from her community. Attending Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony to celebrate with her were Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, her Chapter Prioress, and Sisters Kathleen Waters, Mary Rita McSweeney, and Cyrilla Zarek.
Before beginning her ministry at Notre Dame, Sister Sally served for 19 years at Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls college preparatory school sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Congregation and located in Wilmette, Illinois, north of Chicago. For the first 12 years, she served as Assistant Dean of Students and for the remaining seven was the Dean of Students.
Feature photo: Sister Sally Ormsby, OP, accepts the Rev. James d'Autremond, CSC Award during graduation ceremonies at Notre Dame College Prep. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame College Prep.