By Connie Rotters Blake, SCN Associate
“Organized. Precise. Excellent teacher. Prayerful. Finder of lost items. Patient advocate”. These were just some of the words used to describe S. Marie Anne Ballard during the June 14, 2011 Mass of the Resurrection celebrating her life. This special Mass was held at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga where Sister ministered for 10 years. Several SCNAs and friends gathered to remember S. Marie Anne and the difference she made in their lives. According to Terry Taggart, retired chaplain at Memorial Hospital, “S. Marie Anne taught me what being a chaplain/patient advocate was all about. She was one of several Sisters who transitioned from the role of “Sister Visitor” to “Patient Advocate” as the number of SCNs at Memorial decreased over the years. Jean Payne, Director of Volunteers described Sister as “one who liked order and things in their place, who wanted to be certain patients and their families were treated with dignity and respect.” S. Rita Spalding described S. Marie Anne as a Sister devoted to the needs of the Sisters at the Motherhouse where she retired to Nazareth in 2004. S. Rita spoke of the many Sisters who sat with S. Marie Anne in prayer as she was going home to God. Father Fausto Kaverenge, Chaplain, who never had the opportunity to know Sister, said he felt her presence in the stories shared by those who knew her in life and as she was dying.
The Mass began with the hymn “Joyful, Joyful” which so appropriately described S. Marie Anne and her love for God and for life. The Petitions reflected her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience clearly evident in her years as a Sister of Charity of Nazareth. And the Celebration ended with the beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace.”
S. Marie Anne had a joy for life that not everyone can express. Her smile could light up a room and her hug could give strength to someone faltering. She was a woman of faith, and courage, and love. It’s comforting to know we have a special friend waiting for us to join her in the radiance of God’s Love.