Donata Mary Aquilino was born to Donato Aquilino and Lucia Ruffo on September 3rd 1928, in South Philadelphia. Her parents had migrated from Italy and settled in South Philly. Sister was baptized and confirmed at Epiphany Parish. A member of a large family she was especially close to her sister Carmela.
Before entering the Community Donata worked for the telephone company. At age 22 she applied for entrance to the community and entered on February 11, 1950 and began her Postulancy. On March 25, 1950 she entered the Novitiate and received the name Sr. Donata Marie of the Holy Ghost.
Sister’s missions included: Parish Ministry in: Ensley, Alabama; Kiln Mississippi; Rochester, New York; and Opelika, Alabama. In Winchester, VA, she served at the Seminary and then served in Stirling New Jersey -at the Retreat Center. At St. Anselm Parish in Brooklyn, NY she was engaged in catechetical ministry and enjoyed outreach to the Youth of the Parish. During this time she formed a Youth Cenacle. Her sense of humor and affinity for practical jokes endeared her to the people she served. At St. Monica Parish in Philadelphia and in Blessed Trinity Missionary Cenacle New York she served the Senior population through Catholic Social Services.
In 1983 at age 54 and many years of studying summers and evening classes, Sr. Donata Marie received her Bachelor’s Degree from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.
In 1991 Sister was assigned to Fr. Judge High School Philadelphia to the Office of Finances and outreach to the Alumni, where she ministered for the next twelve years.
At age 78, she realized it was time to step down from her ministry at Fr. Judge High School. At this time she received a letter from the President of the school-saying ‘ You have aided Fr. Judge High School admirably by your willingness and cooperation to learn Development office guidelines, new computers and software, event planning, and procedures for annual record keeping and capital campaign data basing. I know personally that both the school and the alumni Association benefited by your attention to detail and true love and respect for our graduates.” Sr Donata Marie, after having received this letter reflected, ‘I feel so humble. It was a great privilege working with so many good and beautiful people.’
In January of 2014 Sr. Donata Marie was one of eight pioneers who were missioned to Mother Boniface Missionary Cenacle at Wesley. Though she was generally rather quiet she was easily engaged in singing and always had a hearty laugh-still touching lives. Thank you Sr. Donata Marie for your sixty-six years as a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity. May you rest in the embrace of the Holy Ghost who has been your source of grace and strength.