Sister M. Agnes Alma, O.P. of Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York, died on Tuesday, April 7, 1959 at Saint Agnes' Hospital, White Plains, New York, after an illness of several months.
Beloved of several generations of Mount students, Sister Agnes Alma taught at the Academy here since her earliest years as a member of the community of the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh which she entered on February 1, 1917. She was born near Sterlingbush, New York in Jefferson County, the daughter of John H. McDonald and Margaret Brown. She was educated in the local schools of that area and at Saint Lawrence University, Canton, New York, from which she received an A. B. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1909, and where she taught from 1910 to 1917.
From a rich background, Sister brought the traditions of the nobility of the life of the soil and the scholarship of deep learning, blended with her own genuine charm and profound spirituality. In addition, she devoted assiduous preparation and constant study to her work, so that her teaching remained vibrant in its appeal and lasting in its influence. She was remarkable in her gift of understanding and an appreciation of the worth of each individual student, and her keen interest in the welfare of each one had endeared her to the hearts of all who came within her influence.
Sister obtained her M.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. In 1927, she pursued further graduate study in preparation for a Ph.D. degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and also at the Universidad de la Habana, Havana, Cuba. She taught classes in English and the Psychology of Education at the University of Notre Dame. She served as a member of the English Committee of the New York State Board of Regents for many years, and was for several years a member of the Examination Rating Board of the New York State Scholarship Committee. Special research pursued by Sister Agnes Alma was concerned with the Beatitudes as ideals of conduct and the works of Louise Imogen Guiney. She contributed articles to The Catholic Educational Review, The Ave Maria, The Magnificat, and other publications.
At the Mount, Sister Agnes Alma served as a member of the Community Council and was Secretary General of the Congregation from 1935 to 1953. She was Principal of the Academy from 1922 to 1934, during which time she introduced the school paper, The Gleam. For many years she was associated with The Mount Saint Mary Alumnae Association, both as moderator and as active faculty advisor.
Sister is survived by a brother, Augustine McDonald, of Philadelphia, New York; by two sisters, Theresa McDonald of Antwerp, New York and Mrs. Daniel Kennedy of Syracuse, New York; and several nieces and nephews, among them, Sister May Paul, O.P., of Pope Pius XII Diocesan High School in Passaic, New Jersey.