Donna M. Morrissey, who headed PR for the Boston Archdiocese and the American Red Cross, dies at 51 of COVID-19

Boston Globe

May 23, 2020

By Bryan Marquard

When 26 people were shot and killed at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in 2012, Donna M. Morrissey went to the scene the following morning for the American Red Cross to speak with victims’ families and relief workers — conversations all the more grief-stricken because 20 young children were among the dead.

“She remembered everything,” said Tara Hughes, leader of the American Red Cross family assistance center that day, who saw Ms. Morrissey, as communications director, field questions in interview after interview with local reporters and national news outlets.

“Donna was fierce in all the good ways — a fierce advocate for people in need, a fierce friend to many,” Hughes added. “She always said she wanted to capture what it was like to be in the position of someone who was impacted directly, and then she would tell their story with grace and compassion. She was amazing in that way.”

Ms. Morrissey, who formerly held one of the most difficult public relations jobs in the country as spokeswoman for the Boston Archdiocese during the clergy sex abuse scandal that swiftly dominated the news, died of COVID-19 Friday at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She was 51 and lived in Newton.

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