Elizabeth Donnelly

Year Joined MKLM: 1980
Country: Peru
Focus: Pastoral work
People Served:
Project Goal(s):

Personal Data
Betty Anne Donnelly was raised in Pittsburgh as the second of Marilyn and Tom Donnelly’s seven children, she attended elementary and secondary schools run by the Sisters of Mercy. She earned a B.S.F.S. in development economics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and an M.T.S. in Christian social ethics at Harvard Divinity School. She served on the staffs of the ecumenical lobbying group Bread for the World (during which she co-authored a book on international service opportunities), and President Carter’s Presidential Commission on World Hunger. She worked as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Bolivia and Peru from 1981-1983, engaging in editorial work at an ecumenical news service and pastoral work in the Lima shantytown where she lived.

During her graduate studies in political science, she taught Harvard undergraduates for six years, including a course she designed for Government majors on the Catholic Church and world politics. In the run up to the millennium, she researched, wrote, and gave talks on the efforts of churches and nongovernmental organizations to obtain bilateral and multilateral debt reduction for poor, heavily indebted countries. This included drafting a case study analysis of the movement for the Brookings Institution’s Global Public Policy Project, and a summary of the proceedings of a key conference on the ethical dimensions of debt relief sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops, Seton Hall University, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Illustrative of the Catholic Church’s convening power, this October 1998 gathering brought together international leaders including the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, and the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. She published an article in the Spring 2007 volume of Ethics and International Affairs on the moral arguments the Catholic Church has contributed to the debt relief movement.

Interested in promoting lay ministry in the church—especially for service in the global South—Betty Anne served on the boards of Jesuit Volunteers International (12 years) and the Maryknoll Lay Missioners (eight years). She also currently serves on the boards of the Gregorian University Foundation (15 years), Bread for the World (six years), and the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (five years, with three years prior service on the board of the Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry). Through her work with the Mary J. Donnelly Foundation, she has been active in FADICA since the mid 1980s (elected to its board this past January); and since its inception in 2004, she has served as a member of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. She conducted extensive research to help prepare a group of FADICA women for October 2007 and March 2010 meetings with leading Vatican officials on the role of women in the church.

Betty Anne has been happily married for 28 years to Dr. Phillip E. Pulaski, whom she met as a fellow lay missioner with Maryknoll. An internist with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Phil served for 15 years as medical director of the BHCH clinic at Boston Medical Center, and is now working on a project about end of life care for the homeless. Phil also serves on the board of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and for the last 14 years on the Medical Committee of the American Association of the Order of Malta. They have three daughters, Marya Elizabeth (age 22), Teresa Catherine (20), and Natalya Clare (19), who attend Georgetown University and Loyola University Maryland. The family worships at St. Peter Parish in Cambridge, MA, where Betty Anne serves as a eucharistic minister. She also taught third- and fourth-grade catechism for five years at St. Joseph Parish in Belmont

Current Work
Elizabeth A. Donnelly serves as a trustee of the Mary J. Donnelly Foundation, which funds Catholic organizations in Western Pennsylvania, the U.S. and overseas, principally in the areas of education, social justice, and lay ministry. She is also writing her Ph.D. dissertation entitled, “Catholic Church Activism on Issues of International Ethics: The Case of Third World Debt and Structural Adjustment,” in the Government Department of Harvard University. Her dissertation committee is composed of Professors Jorge Dominguez, Stanley Hoffmann, and J. Bryan Hehir.