Sister Jane McDonald, 51; Had Filed Sex Assault Lawsuit

By Kathryn Marchocki
Union Leader
August 2, 2003

Sister Jane McDonald, C.S.C., died July 29 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 51.

McDonald, a Manchester native, joined the Roman Catholic religious congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1972. She did her religious training in Franklin and other novitiates in New England and New York.

In the mid-1970s, she was one of several religious sisters who followed Sister Jeanne Wilfort, who was provincial superior of the Western Canada Province, to Manitoba.

McDonald last year filed civil suit against the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Wilfort and Homes for Growth, where McDonald said Wilfort sexually assaulted her while employing a controversial therapeutic technique Wilfort practiced there.

The suit was stymied in the courts because McDonald was too ill to withstand depositions.

McDonald established a drop-in center in downtown Winnipeg for the city's homeless, alcohol and drug addicted and prostitutes. She was nicknamed "Winnipeg's Mother Teresa" for her work among the urban poor and last year was one of several Winnipeg residents to receive the "People Who Make a Difference Canada Day Award."

McDonald died at 2:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. Her oldest brother, John, her sister, Cheryl, both of New Hampshire, and several close friends were at her side, said Karen Schmidtchen of Nottingham, who is McDonald's sister-in-law.

The funeral Mass was held in Winnipeg yesterday. Her remains will be returned to Manchester, where a memorial service is planned.


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