Dorothy MacDougall, SCN

Posted by Kacie Emmerson

July 18, 2023

Dorothy MacDougall, SCN, formerly Sister Mary Julia, died on Monday, July 17, 2023, at the age of 87, in Nazareth, Ky. She was a professed Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 67 years.

Born on Oct. 1, 1935, in Jeffersonville, Ind., Dorothy was the beloved daughter of Mary Elizabeth and Daniel Campbell MacDougall Sr. She was the oldest of six children, and her upbringing instilled in her the values of compassion and service. 

Dorothy’s high school education brought her to Kentucky and to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, as she attended Presentation Academy in Louisville, Ky. In 1953, Dorothy embarked on her religious journey with the Sisters, entering the Congregation as a candidate. She wholeheartedly embraced her calling and made her perpetual vows in 1959, committing herself to a life of service to God and others.

Education played a significant role in Sister Dorothy’s ministry. As her friend, Clare McNeil, SCN, writes, “Dorothy took to learning as flowers take to sunshine.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Spalding College, a master’s degree in Elementary Education, and a Ph.D. in Education with a minor in Sociology, both from Ohio State University. Her academic achievements laid a strong foundation for her teaching and leadership roles in the years to come.

During her early years in ministry, Sister Dorothy devoted herself to sharing her love of education with others. She taught sixth grade at St. Joseph School in Bardstown, Ky., from 1956-1961, later transitioning to teach eighth grade. Following her desire for further education, she served as a college instructor at Nazareth College in Nazareth, Ky., and Spalding College in Louisville. In 1972, Sister Dorothy was appointed the Director of Education at the SCN Center in Nazareth.

Dorothy believed in the life-giving nature of all her ministries and cherished the memories of teaching young Sisters at Nazareth. It was through these experiences that she discovered the profound lessons to be learned from others. 

In the wake of Vatican II, a transformative period in the Catholic Church, Sister Dorothy’s commitment to justice grew stronger and became a central focus in her life and educational work. Her involvement with a federal public school Dropout Prevention research program in Louisville’s West End influenced her role in the development of an Education for Justice program in Catholic Schools, which extended overseas to schools in India and Nepal.

Beyond her contributions as an educator, Sister Dorothy made many significant contributions to the leadership of the Congregation. In 1979, she served as Provincial of the Southern Province in Memphis, Tenn., followed by taking office in 1980 as Superior General for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, a role she fulfilled with grace and dedication until 1988. 

As Superior General, she met monthly with the Provincials in the United States to find ways to make the India Province a more integral part of the Executive Committee. She also noted a need to expand the SCN health care ministry and address the AIDS epidemic in the United States and abroad. During her leadership, the Executive Committee decided to open two beds at Nazareth Home dedicated to helping patients living with AIDS. Other nursing homes and establishments followed suit, and measures were also taken in India to address this crisis.

Additionally, she proposed establishing a global exchange program for SCNs, allowing Sisters across the world to get to know one another and appreciate each other’s cultures. This program continues today. 

After her time as Superior General, Sister Dorothy became Vice President for Mission in Health Care. In this capacity, she worked with St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Ky., SCN Health System in Nazareth, and CHI Southeast Regional Office in Nazareth and Louisville.

Later in her ministry, Sister Dorothy expanded her service to encompass various roles with Central Leadership. In 2000, she served as a consultant for the Development of Programs at Nazareth Hospital in Mokama, Bihar, India. Additionally, from 2003-2007, Sister Dorothy worked as the Secretary to the Vice Provincial at the Western Province Office in Quincy, Mass.

In her later years, Sister Dorothy embraced community service and volunteerism. She dedicated her time to teaching English to immigrants in Quincy and helping them prepare for citizenship tests. She served as a volunteer and teacher at the Notre Dame Education Center in South Boston, Mass., and she continued to support the SCN Congregation in Nazareth. In 2017, Sister Dorothy retired and relocated to Nazareth, where she spent her remaining years surrounded by the Community she held dear.

Sister Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Elizabeth MacDougall, SCN. She is survived by her siblings, Daniel MacDougall, Marilyn Lilly, Joann Paris, and Margaret Jones; her extended family; and her religious community, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. 

Sister Dorothy committed her life to moving the mission forward, no matter what or where the ministry. Her legacy of faith, compassion, and dedicated service will continue to inspire and guide future generations.

  • The wake was held Wednesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nazareth, Ky.
  • The Funeral Mass was held Thursday, July 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the church, with burial to follow in the Nazareth Cemetery.

12 Comments

  1. Sister Bridget Kappalumakal

    Dorothy, I have been blessed, touched and enriched by our long friendship of the past 40 years. I have experienced you as a delightful person with deep faith, uncompromising dedication, openness, courage, vision, all embracing love and a radiant smile and many more. Thank you Dorothy for being a true SCN model for all of us to follow. You have inspired me and many others inside and outside the SCN Congregation. Thank you for your love for the India Mission and your contributions for its development.
    We thank God for the gift of your life to your family, to the SCN Family and to the whole world. We”ll miss you much Dorothy but are glad that you are with our loving God now interceding for us..

    Reply
  2. Beena Chirackal SCN

    Dorothy your presence and words was encouraging, enriching and uplifting. It was a joy to meet you and spend a little time with you the few times I came to Nazareth. I always cherish the time Anjana and me had in Boston with you and Clare. May you receive eternal reward and Rest in Peace. Praying for you .
    Beena Chirackal

    Reply
  3. Jessie Saldanha

    I recall sr Dorothy as a great visionary and missionary of all times.
    Her grace, simplicity, depth of her spirituality and her indomitable courage to search for new and innovative ways of enfleshing the word of God was amazing,certainly praise worthy.
    She was a valiant woman with heart warming smile always. A gentle soul !
    I was a novice when I met her first and those are memories I will continue to cherish forever. She and her spirit will continue to live in and through us forever. We will miss you so much . REST IN GODS ETERNAL PEACE SR.DOROTHY.

    Reply
  4. Rena Fernandes

    Dear Sister Dorathy, You were a Blessing for all of us. I was touched by your beautiful smile. Gentle loving caring conversation can’t be forgotten. You have gone to Heaven but you will live ever in our heart ❤️. Love you…. Will miss you…. May you Rest In Peace

    Reply
  5. Amrita Manjaly SCN

    Sister Dorothy was an inspiration to all of us. Her passionate love and interest for the SCN community, the Church and the wider, global community was manifested the way Sister Dorothy lived and spent her life. All of us are touched by her radiant smile and her personal interest in each SCN. Thank you Sister Dorothy for being a TRUE SCN and for being an example for me personally.

    Reply
  6. Hilda Lobo

    Dear Sr. Dorothy as you rest in peace, May God reward all your good deeds. You were very good to each one of us and always kind and gentle in your attitudes. We have one more saint in heaven to intercede for us.

    Reply
  7. Nimmie

    It was a blessing to have known you and experience your love and care Dorothy. You were our leader when I joined the Congregation and since then you have always inspired me – even during the moments of your illness. We celebrate your life. You will be missed by us all and Rest now in peace.

    Reply
  8. Blanche Correia

    Sister Dorothy , you were embodiment of compassion to the poor and the needy . Sister you have gone from our sight but NEVER from our heart.
    I will never forget your beautiful smile .

    Reply
    • Sr. Deepti SCN

      It was a blessing to meet you Dorothy in Nazareth during this GA. The Global exchange programme which was your initia tive , has given many of us an opportunity to come to Nazareth and be in touch with our roots.Your love for India is remarkable and you called each of us by name. Your vision for mission and ministry has taken us forward in many levels. May you enjoy eternal bliss. We continue to count on your blessings! I cherish every moment spent with you. Miss you!

      Reply
  9. Maria Brocato

    We shall miss this dear,talented woman so much….and shall always be grateful for her gifted leadership.

    Reply
  10. Ann Palatty

    Rest in peace Dorothy. You were a woman of grace, courage and foresight. Truly a woman of the Church and much ahead of your time. Your visionary leadership can never be forgotten.
    Thank you for being our inspiration all through your life.
    We miss you!
    Ann Palatty

    Reply
    • Jessie Saldanha

      I recall sr Dorothy as a great visionary and missionary of all times.
      Her grace, simplicity, depth of her spirituality and her indomitable courage to search for new and innovative ways of enfleshing the word of God was amazing,certainly praise worthy.
      She was a valiant woman with heart warming smile always. A gentle soul !
      I was a novice when I met her first and those are memories I will continue to cherish forever. She and her spirit will continue to live in and through us forever. We will miss you so much . REST IN GODS ETERNAL PEACE SR.DOROTHY.

      Reply

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