Rita McDonald

Obituary of Rita Frances McDonald

Rita McDonald, CSJ

Ever-present advocate for those in poverty, for single mothers, children, run-away youth, and the elderly, this compassionate, generous, and feisty promoter of peace, was born on a farm in Waverly, MN, on October 10, 1922, to Kenneth and Margaret (Burns) McDonald, and died peacefully at Carondelet Village in St. Paul, on November 20, 2023. Rita entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1946. Soon after she began ministry work in food services at the Boys Home and Christ the King Parish in Minneapolis, St. Paul Seminary, Nativity Parish, St. Agatha’s Conservatory and Bethany Convent in St. Paul. In the wake of Vatican II Rita felt compelled to remove her habit and took up a mantle of peace and justice. Along with many CSJ sisters, including her three familial sisters Kate, Brigid and Jane, she focused her efforts outward toward world issues and political activism. She served at The Bridge for Runaway Youth, Haven House, Ascension Place, St. Joseph House, Incarnation House and Unbefriended Elders, all located in Minneapolis; all places where Rita shared her gifts as counselor, advocate, listener, and guide. She steadfastly and courageously rallied against the tools of war and oppression from the School of Americas to Alliant Tech’s production of weaponry. Along with allies from Veterans for Peace and Women Against Military Madness, Rita was a constant presence each Wednesday at the Lake Street Bridge peace protests. Rita spent a lifetime believing war to be “in direct contradiction to God’s command to choose life, Jesus’ way of love of enemy, and to humanity’s compassion for the weak and suffering.” Rita will be greatly missed for her Irish wit, her passion for peace, and her lavish welcome to any and all who crossed her path.

Rita is preceded in death by her parents; her sisters Margaret Mary Borer and Dorothy Vidlund; her brothers Ewan, Patrick, Edward, Kenneth and Phillip McDonald. She is survived by sisters Kate McDonald, CSJ, Brigid McDonald, CSJ, and Jane McDonald, CSJ; many cousins, nieces and nephews; grand and great grandnieces and nephews; dear friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates. Celebration of Life will take place on Monday, December 18th, at 11:00 AM, in Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, 1884 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, with burial following at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights. Memorials preferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph Ministries Foundation.


Dear Rita, rest in love and peace.

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Celebration of Life

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Monday, December 18, 2023
Our Lady of Presentation
1880 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States


2:30 pm - 2:45 pm
Monday, December 18, 2023
Resurrection Cemetery
2101 Lexington Ave S
Mendota Heights, Minnesota, United States
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