In Memory of Sister Mary Jeanette McCarthy

August 9, 1938 – April 8, 2024

Sister Mary Jeanette McCarthy, formerly Sister Mary Donald, 85, daughter of Donald and Marion (Haan), was born Jeanette Ann McCarthy on August 9, 1938, in Titonka, Iowa. She entered the Sisters of the Presentation on September 8, 1957, and professed her perpetual vows on August 22, 1965.

Sister Jeanette earned a Bachelor of Arts from Clarke College (now Clarke University) in Dubuque, Iowa, a Master of Arts from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C, and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Loras College in Dubuque for her 10 years of dedication and work with Hispanic immigrants at St. Patrick Parish in Dubuque.

Sister Jeanette’s ministries took her to Dubuque, Charles City, Farley, Mason City, Storm Lake, and Sioux City, all in Iowa, where she taught 6th grade, high school accounting and business and was a junior class advisor and yearbook moderator. She served as pastoral minister and parish music coordinator in Port Arthur and Cameron, Texas, and as the director of Hispanic ministry for the Office of Hispanic Ministry at St. Patrick Church in Dubuque. She retired to Mount Loretto in 2011 and celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2017. Sister Jeanette was known for her energy and enthusiasm. She said, “I hold gratitude in my heart over the years in religious life. I am grateful for my family spirit, which I learned as a small child, for my years in teaching and, most especially, for the privilege to live in my Presentation community.” Sister Jeanette enjoyed photography, playing the guitar, sewing, traveling, Hispanic ministry and Spanish conversation, artwork and genealogy. She valued prayer and community service.

Surviving are her sisters, Eileen Hovelson and Denise McCarthy, brothers, David and Al, nieces, nephews, and the Sisters of the Presentation with whom she shared her life for 66 years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Cathy Heinen and Paula McCarthy, and her brothers, Leo, Eugene, Father John, William, Luke, Jerome, Father Patrick, Phillip, and Tim.

Memorials may be made to the Sisters of the Presentation, 2360 Carter Road, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001, or online at