HARTFORD – Father James M. Donagher, 76, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, of 85 New Park Ave., died on Aug. 10, 2016, at Hughes Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford.
He was born on Oct. 11, 1939, in Hartford, a son of the late James and Rose Ann (Gallagher) Donagher. He attended the La Salette Seminary in Hartford and then junior college at the La Salette Seminary in Altamont, N.Y. He entered the Novitiate of the Missionaries of La Salette on July 1, 1959, and completed his studies at the La Salette Seminary in Ipswich, Mass. Father Donagher was ordained on May 28, 1966 at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich.
Father Donagher first served as a prefect at the La Salette Seminary in Cheshire. He was appointed as the assistant director of vocations in Hartford in 1967 and in 1971 he was named an associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Hartford.
In 1978, he served as the associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Hartford. He taught himself Spanish in order to better minister to that parish. He also founded a shelter for the homeless and a soup kitchen to feed the hungry. Those ministries continue today as ImmaCare Inc.
After a period of time away from the La Salette Congregation, Father Donagher asked to return and was received into the postulancy in 2010 and the novitiate in 2011. Father Donagher made his perpetual profession in March of 2014. In recent years, he was assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Lebanon, N.H., and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Hartford.
He retired to the Hartford House community in 2014.
In addition to his La Salette confreres, Father Donagher is survived by his adopted daughter, Liza Donagher Miller; two cousins, Katherine Anderson and Seamus Donagher; and many other relatives.
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial on Aug. 15 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Hartford. Burial followed the next day at Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.
Contributions in Father Donagher’s memory may be made to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Ave., Hartford, CT 06114-2330.