(The remarks of the interviewer are in italics. Sister is referred to by both her baptismal name ‘Mary Anne’ and her religious name ‘Marianna’ in this story.)

Robert Burkardt (Bob) and Blanche Rose Hoff (Blanche) celebrated their marriage in St. Anthony Parish on the 17th of June, 1939 in Bellevue, Kentucky. On March 11, 1941, Robert and Blanche welcomed their first child into the world. Blanche was terrified to be a mother and prayed to the Blessed Mother and St. Anne for guidance, help, and strength throughout her pregnancy. In gratitude to them, Blanche named her firstborn Mary Anne.

Robert “Bob” Burkardt and Blanche Rose Hoff Burkardt on their wedding day

Mary Anne was the eldest of eight children. In 1942, her brother Nicholas (Nick) was born and a year later, the family was blessed with a second little girl – Patricia Jean (Patty). Soon after Patty was born, Bob joined the army to serve his country during WWII. Mary Anne was three years old at that time, but matured quickly to help her mother with the younger children while her father was away from home. Bob’s parents, Leo Aloysius Burkardt and Sarah Georgiana Risk Burkardt, also stepped in to help the young family. Grandma helped Blanche a great deal – teaching her how to cook, assisting with housework, and helping to raise the three Burkardt children. Blanche’s own mother, Mary Elizabeth O’Hara Hoff, died when Blanche was seventeen, after a battle with breast cancer.

Mary Anne Burkardt 1941

Four years after joining the army, Bob returned home to his family. The children hardly remembered their father. Patty, who was only a few months old when her father left, was even “afraid” of this strange man, but along with Mary Anne and Nick, soon grew accustomed to having their Daddy at home, and the family grew close once more. He got a job as a Buyer of Housewares at the H & S Pogue Department Store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Robert “Bob” Burkardt U.S. Army c. 1944

Mary Anne always felt special to her dad. She remembers that he always called her by her nickname, “Motch,” which she earned by insisting upon calling a neighbor, “Miss Motch”. She attended daily Mass with him – carrying her missal with her every day. The SCNs who taught at the school at that time named her the “little girl with the big prayer book.” As faithful Catholics, the family went to Mass every Sunday and often attended the St. Anthony Novena on Monday evenings. Mary Anne continued to do that even in high school.

A fourth child, Sara Lee (Sally), soon blessed the family, and Robert Anthony (Rob) followed soon after. When Bob and Blanche’s fourth daughter was born, Blanche told Mary Anne, then a 7th grader, that she could name her. Mary Anne named her sister Kathleen Marie (Kathy) after a beloved teacher, Sister Kathleen Maria (Catherine Looby), SCN. Kathleen’s arrival in the early 1950s ended up being quite traumatic for the whole family! Blanche lost several pints of blood and nearly died after the birth at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington, Kentucky. Mary Anne’s grandmother, always very direct in her speech, woke Mary Anne at 7 a.m. with the news and instructions, “Your mother is dying, get to Mass and pray for her.” The “little girl with the big prayer book” rarely missed Saturday morning Mass. That particular morning she ran to Mass in tears to pray for her mother. Grandma was very faithful in being there to take care of the rest of the family at this time. Thanks to her family’s prayers, care received at the hospital, and multiple blood transfusions, Blanch, in time, recovered amazingly well.

The family did not own a car until Mary Ann was a senior in high school so her dad had to borrow Grandma’s brother’s (Leonard Rist) car to take her mom to the hospital for the births of the children. This particular time, the use of the car was even more needed and Uncle Leonard was always happy to give Bob the car! Necessarily, Blanche was hospitalized longer after this birth.

Blanche returned home and was her loving, busy self again raising six children. Soon, however, two more children joined the family – Anthony Joseph (Tony) and then Thomas Michael (Tom) when Mary Anne was a senior in high school.

Mary Anne grew up loving her siblings dearly. She often referred to them as “her kids” as she did so much to help her mother care for them. The whole family was very affectionate – hugs and kisses were a big part of the family. In the three-bedroom house, the newest baby usually stayed in the parents’ room, the girls shared a room, and the boys shared the third room. They ate simple but wholesome meals. Though they were poor, they always had “enough”.

Mary Anne with her brother, Nick c. 1945

(Mary Anne expressed deep love and appreciation for her parents. Their faithfulness to each other and to the children, their constant love, guidance and care were/are truly an awesome memory and come from a heart filled with gratitude.)

Mary Anne was very close to her grandmother. As a child, she cleaned her grandmother’s house for fifty cents weekly allowance. Grandma always had classical music playing. (Mary Anne’s dad played the trumpet and his three siblings also played a musical instrument.) Mary Anne grew to love classical music herself. Years later, after Mary Anne bought herself a record player, her grandma often gave her classical records to enjoy. Students at St. Anthony School were taught in music class to read music and Mary Anne longed to play the piano. When she was in high school her aunt offered a piano for $10, and she began to teach herself to play! She still enjoys playing occasionally when there is a piano around!

Mary Anne remembers her grandfather, Leo, being a kind man who often had an apple for her when he would meet her after school. When Grandma and Grandpa came to visit the Burkardt family, they often brought the children Coca Cola and Oreo cookies – quite a treat! Nearly every Saturday night, the Burkardt family went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where they played pinochle.

The Burkardt children attended St. Anthony’s School – staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth – in their home town of Bellevue. To this day, Sister Mary Anne has a special devotion to St. Anthony. Mary Anne excelled in math and spelling but struggled with history. Her father had very high standards and she always worked hard to please him. Sister Mary Anne remembers that she once received a 99% on a spelling test; her father was furious. He told her that she could have gotten a 100% easily and didn’t understand why she hadn’t. The word Mary Anne misspelled on that spelling test was ‘screw’.

The Burkardt family c. 1953
Back row L-R: Mary Anne, Bob (Dad) holding Rob, Grandma (Sarah) Burkardt holding Tony, Grandpa (Leo) Burkardt, Blanche (Mom) holding Kathy, and Patty
Front: Nick and Sally

As a result of her hard work in grade school, Mary Anne received a scholarship to attend LaSalette Academy in nearby Covington, KY. LaSalette was owned and staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Mary Anne loved her time at LaSalette – ultimately graduating fourth in her class.

When Mary Anne was fourteen, she got a job working at the local drug store where she made fifty cents an hour. She worked in the evening after school and on weekends. As soon as she started making money, she had to pay her parents $10 a month for her room and board – a rule instituted by her grandmother to help support the family. Mary Anne was glad to be able to buy her own clothes and also pay for her lunches at LaSalette. She was also very excited to have her own income because it meant she could buy Christmas presents for her family for the first time. Sister Mary Anne remembers buying her mother a dress and her dad a suit coat for Christmas when she was a senior in high school. She was so proud to be able to get them something nice and loved getting “the kids” gifts from Santa!

In addition to her job at the drug store, helping to provide for the family, Mary Anne’s high school years were also filled with fun. She and her friends loved to dance and sing – the Jitterbug was a hit! (Mary Anne later got in trouble for dancing the Jitterbug in the novitiate with a fellow novice!) Every Friday night, the “gang” went to a “canteen” in nearby Dayton or to her friend Anne’s basement – dancing and enjoying each other’s company. She even began to smoke when she was sixteen!

Sister Mary Anne’s high school graduation photo

For three years, Mary Anne dated Gary, her high school sweetheart. When they graduated from high school, Gary went to college at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Communication became less and less, and soon the relationship ended. Mary Anne knew that her family couldn’t afford to send her to college; so, she started working as a secretary in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. It was while she was working as a secretary that Mary Anne received a call from Father Charles M. Garvey and Father Thomas J. Coleman of St. Anthony’s parish. They asked her to come teach first grade at the parish school. She had always wanted to be a teacher and was eager to say yes… even as an eighteen-year-old! (Both priests thought Mary Anne had a vocation and that this would be a wonderful way to help her see that call.)

Sister James Anita (Martha Clan), who was responsible for the other first grade class, mentored Mary Anne. On one occasion, when Mother Bertrand Crimmins visited St. Anthony’s, Sister James Anita asked Mary Anne, “Don’t you want to talk to Mother?” Mary Anne initially said no. She knew that Sister James Anita was hoping she would agree to join the community, but eventually decided it wouldn’t do any harm to simply meet Mother Bertrand. It was a short but friendly meeting.

The decision to enter religious life was not an easy one for Mary Anne. In her early years in grade school she wanted to be a Sister. As she grew up, she still wanted to be a teacher but religious life was no longer a serious consideration. She loved the fun she had with her friends, her independence, and, most of all, her family. She decided to make a novena to St. Anthony for guidance. After completing the novena, Mary Anne decided that she did have a call. On March 24, 1960, she wrote a letter to Mother Bertrand stating that she would like to enter the SCN community. She mailed her letter the next day, on March 25th, Feast of the Annunciation!

Mary Anne’s family and friends reacted to the news in different ways. Sister Mary Anne remembers that her mother was ironing when she told her that she had mailed her letter to Nazareth. Blanche was not pleased – she didn’t want her daughter to leave. Mary Anne had talked in the past about having a vocation, but never took any steps to enter a community. Now her mother demanded to know, “Are you serious this time?” Mary Anne did her best to reassure her mother and said that she at least wanted to go and see if she truly had a vocation. Mary Anne’s father was thrilled with the news. He had always believed that she had a vocation and really wanted her, “to be a nun”. Her brother, Nick, was less enthusiastic when she shared the news with him but he wanted her to be happy. One of her best friends, Ann, was very disappointed as she had recently become engaged and wanted Mary Anne to be in her wedding.

Mary Anne finished the school year as a teacher at St. Anthony’s and then took the summer off to make the most of her remaining time with her family. She was nineteen years old when she left home for the convent on September 8, 1960. Leaving her family was one of the hardest things she has ever done in her life. Leaving her youngest sibling, Thomas Michael, who was only two years old, was especially difficult. She often called him her baby and remembers sitting at the piano with him on her lap, showing him how to play. Mary Anne went to the school to say goodbye to all her siblings there before leaving. Her mother, father, sister Sally, and best friend Phyllis made the four hour drive to Nazareth with her.

Sister Mary Anne with her parents the day she entered the SCN Community, September 8, 1960

Arriving at Nazareth, Mary Anne got out of the car, gave her class ring to her sister, Sally, and her cigarettes to her dad. She was taken into the building and dressed in her postulant’s uniform of black skirt, blouse, and small round silky headpiece by one of the Sisters who had also entered from Bellevue. She took pictures with her parents, Sally and Phyllis, and then it was time to say goodbye. All fifty postulants lined up on the Motherhouse front steps; and then the waving goodbye began before they processed into the church. It was incredibly traumatic watching her loved ones leave.

September 1960 Entrance Class

There were forty girls in Mary Anne’s dorm. Many complained because Mary Anne cried herself to sleep almost every night. She missed her family so much. “I would hold my crucifix and cry myself to sleep praying that my mom would be all right taking care of the kids without me there.” Every morning the rising bell rang at 4:50 a.m. Morning prayer and meditation took place in the church at 5:30 a.m. Mass began at 6:00 a.m. After Mass, they reported for their duties including setting the table and serving coffee to the professed Sisters. All of the postulants studied to learn community history, church history, etc. They had prayer in the afternoon and evening and holy hour ever night.

Mary Anne’s mother wrote her faithfully twice a week, sharing family news and sending love from her and her dad, always telling her she was missed! She also received treasured drawings and precious notes from her siblings, especially the little ones, which, of course, often brought tears to her eyes! She still has some of those treasures.

Sister Mary Anne with her family in December 1960 on the day of their first visit to Nazareth after Sister Mary Anne entered the Community
Back Row L-R: Blanche (Mom), Nick, Sister Mary Anne, Bob (Dad), and Patty
Middle: Kathy, Tony, Rob, and Sally
Front: Tom

During the two years of novitiate, following ten months as a postulant, Mary Anne prepared to make vows. Postulants made retreat during which time they were asked to submit three choices for their “Sister” name. They could not ask for a duplicate name of a vowed Sister sand were encouraged to take a deceased Sister’s name or favorite saint of their choice. Usually family names were chosen – Mary Anne chose Robert Blanche and Anthony Therese. Anthony and Therese, two favorite saints, were her first choice. She listed her parents’ names Robert Blanche as her third choice since her mother preferred she not take “Blanche”.

Fatefully, four months before Mary Anne entered the novitiate, Sister Marianna Rhodes passed away. Sister Mary Anne remembers believing that to be a sign from God that she was indeed called to religious life – even after her terrible struggles with homesickness. God was literally “calling her by name”. Also, since it was her Baptismal name, she would not offend any “special” family member. She immediately went to Sister Mora Rose, Postulant Director, to tell her she wished to update her list of possible religious names. Marianna was then her first choice. When she entered the novitiate on July 19, 1961, Mary Anne was given the religious name Sister Marianna.

The day she entered the novitiate, several of Sister Marianna’s family members were present including her mom and dad, siblings, aunts and uncles, and her grandma and grandpa. When visiting with them after receiving her name and habit, she got all the hugs she missed so much!

Novices were allowed a visiting day every three months and members of Sister Marianna’s family made the four hour drive every time to see her. Visitors with children usually met outside or in the Sisters’ community room if it was raining. Sister Marianna met with her family outside under the tree by St. Vincent de Paul Church believed to have been on the campus since Mother Catherine’s time. To this day, that tree remains very special to Sister because of all the wonderful memories shared beneath its branches. When they visited, her family often brought her Oreos – her favorite childhood treat.

Sister Mary Anne with her grandparents Leo and Sarah Burkardt on July 19, 1963, the day she made her first vows

On July 19, 1963, Sister Marianna made her first vows. Her parents were there to celebrate with her. After making first vows, Sister Marianna entered the juniorate where she spent her time with her assigned duties and studying.

After two years of juniorate training, Sister Marianna was missioned to St. Joseph School in Bardstown as a second grade teacher. She lived at the Bethlehem Academy convent while missioned at St. Joe’s. There she was the youngest of twenty-two Sisters. Sister Mariana shared a room with three other Sisters. Eventually, a small home was purchased and she and several other Sisters moved there. In 1964, Sister Marianna received her first “thin letter” assigning her to St. Gabriel School in Louisville, Kentucky as third grade teacher.

Sister Mary Anne received a blue polka dot bikini for Christmas while on her first mission at St. Joseph in Bardstown

In 1966, Sister Marianna was given permission to make her first visit home since she entered the community to celebrate her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. At that time, Sisters were not permitted to stay at their home when they visited; so, Sister Marianna stayed at the St. Anthony’s convent. As Sisters could not even go inside their parents’ houses at that point, the Sisters at the convent invited her parents for dinner at the convent.

While Sister Marianna was a third grade teacher at St. Gabriel, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and Catholics everywhere were experiencing many changes. Vatican II called for religious communities to reevaluate many things including their habits, religious names, and long-held restrictions on things like driving. In many ways, all of these changes felt to Sister Marianna like going through a second adolescence. It was a period of uncertainty and upheaval in the community.

On January 1, 1968, Sister Marianna, along with 425 other SCNs, resumed use of their baptismal names. Sister Marianna was now Sister Mary Anne. During this time, some SCNs – including Sister Mary Anne – learned how to drive for the first time. Sister Mary Anne learned to drive while at St. Gabriel and often drove the other Sisters to various appointments. She enjoyed this opportunity and getting to know many of the Sisters during the drives.

While at St. Gabriel, Sister Mary Anne joined with Sister Anne Rita Mauck and others to found the DePaul School – a school for children with learning differences, initially focusing on those with dyslexia. Sister Mary Anne loved working to find ways to help those children who might struggle with a traditional education. She even attended summer school at Berea College to learn more about teaching children with learning differences.

The Burkardt family at the 1986 Burkardt Family Reunion

In 1974, Sister Mary Anne was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis was especially traumatic as her maternal grandmother had died of breast cancer at the age of forty-seven. Fortunately, the removal of Sister’s right breast prevented the spread of the cancer, but the ordeals of being diagnosed with cancer and having surgery left Sister Mary Anne struggling with depression. Though she was working with a therapist to get through the depression and to come to terms with her diagnosis, community life became strained, and Sister Mary Anne was sent to another community on New Cut Road.

The New Cut Road community included five SCNs and five Sisters who were in the process of transferring from another community. While living on New Cut Road, Sister Mary Anne taught first grade at St. Matthias School in Louisville, KY. Mary Anne remembers this being one of the best communities she ever lived with. While living on New Cut Road, Sister Mary Anne also trained for principalship with Sister Alice Louise Hoffman.

In 1977, Sister Mary Anne was appointed principal of St. Agnes School in Uniontown, KY. St. Agnes was a small school of just over one hundred students. They were all in “double grades” (i.e. grades one and two together, etc.). The parish consisted of only 1500 families. Sister Rita Davis and Sister Sara Cecelia Bailey were part of the local community.

Sister Mary Anne as Dorothy and Sister Martha Clan as Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Naz”, a play presented at the farewell party for Sister Dorothy MacDougall at the 1980 province meeting in Memphis, TN

While this ministry was not always easy, Sister Mary Anne remembers that they had a great house of Sisters and they always figured things out. In addition to serving as principal, Sister Mary Anne taught religion and was responsible for the creation of the Pastoral Council and the School Board as well as for overseeing a great many changes such as having lay people (and Sisters) serve as lectors and Eucharistic Ministers at Mass.

St. Agnes was Sister Mary Anne’s favorite mission. She loved the families, students, and spirit that was in the parish pastored by Father Charles G. Fisher. “Fish” was also an excellent boss! Sister knew the phone numbers for all the parents by heart!

Sister Mary Anne loved her ministry at St. Agnes; but, ultimately, she tried to do too much and, at the end of five years as principal, was burnt out. Leaving Uniontown was heartbreaking, but Mary Anne knew that she needed to take time to recharge. In August of 1982, she moved back to Nazareth to serve as Director of the On-Going Development Committee – responsible for the on-going formation of the Community. Sister enjoyed her role as Director of the On-Going Development Committee very much. A trip was made every summer to Camp Maria in Leonardtown, Maryland. At Nazareth, Mary Anne arranged to have classes on various topics for the Sisters. Speakers lectured on topics such as retirement, aging, Vatican II, and many others.

Later that year, Sister also began serving as Director of Retirement – a brand new position. In this role, Sister Mary Anne worked to establish the purpose for the position and to gain an understanding of the community’s needs regarding retirement. She organized programs on retirement for the Sisters and, perhaps most importantly, met with all those who had retired or were nearing retirement. Some Sisters resented the position (and Sister Mary Anne by association) because they were not ready to face retirement and what it might mean for them. Sister Mary Anne remembers meeting with retired Sisters in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of them asked her, what she, a Sister still only in her 40s, knew about retirement. Mary Anne responded, “Well, that’s why I’m here. I want you to tell me your experience. I want to learn from all of you.”

During this time, Sister also studied for her Master of Theological Studies (MTS) at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. She hoped, with this education and degree, to some day become director of a retreat center. Sister Mary Anne graduated with her MTS degree in 1985.

Sister Mary Anne and Sister Sharen Baldy dressed in the traditional SCN habit to celebrate the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s 175th anniversary in 1987

On June 11, 1988, Sister Mary Anne celebrated her Silver Jubilee at St. Paul Church in Florence, Kentucky. The celebration was beautiful, and many Sisters and friends came to be with her. Sister Mary Ninette Manning gave the reflection. What made the celebration truly special, however, was the presence of Mary Anne’s family. Both of her parents, her siblings, and many others were there to share in the joyful day. Her siblings made a photo board featuring treasured photos of Sister Mary Anne throughout her life and ministry.

Sister Mary Anne renewing her vows at her Silver Jubilee celebration with her parents and brother, Nick, by her side

Just two months after Mary Anne’s Silver Jubilee, her father passed away on August 5, 1988. Sister Mary Anne found the loss incredibly difficult. She was giving a retreat for another community of Sisters when she heard the news. In shock, she fell back on responsibility and promised the Sisters she should have time to finish the retreat for them before leaving for her father’s funeral. The Sister who gave Mary Anne the sad news told her she would do no such thing, and that a car was waiting to take her to the airport where her flight had been arranged. Sister Mary Anne was so grateful to the Sisters for understanding and for helping her navigate through her shock to be with her family.

Sister Mary Anne’s parents, Bob and Blanche, at her Silver Jubilee celebration June 10, 1988

Soon after her father’s death, Sister Mary Anne learned she needed to have a second mastectomy. This news, in addition to processing the loss of her father, was too much. The SCN community gladly granted her request for a sabbatical so that she could have the time to get the help she needed to cope with these two challenges.

Toward the end of her sabbatical, Sister Elizabeth Wendeln asked Mary Anne if she would consider being the Director at Camp Maria. This position was everything Sister Mary Anne had hoped for when pursuing her MTS at St. Meinrad’s. Her therapist cautioned that she may not be ready for such a demanding position, but Sister Mary Anne agreed to accept the challenge.

In January of 1990, Sister Mary Anne began her new position as Director of Camp Maria Retreat Center. To this day, Sister Mary Anne loves Camp Maria dearly. She loved being there in ministry and the position of Director. Unfortunately, her therapist’s words of caution were well founded. In December of 1990, she returned to Louisville. Leaving Camp and her position as Director was very hard.

From December to June, Sister Mary Anne lived at the St. Agnes convent and spent much of her time searching for the “right ministry”. In June 1991, she began work as Pastoral Minister at St. Francis of Assisi parish. She moved to a house on Winter Avenue in order to be closer to her new ministry. As Pastoral Minister, she was responsible for leading the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes, sacramental programs, and more. She loved her classes and programs and often taught classes well into the evening hours.

Sister Mary Anne, Sister Cassilda Castell, and Sister Tess Browne in India November 4, 1995

Sister Mary Anne was given the privilege of going to India as part of the Global Exchange Committee from September to December of 1995. It was one of the greatest blessings of her life and she loved every moment of it. She learned a lot about our Sisters in India and their ministries. She was very inspired by their simple lives and dedicated service to all those in need.

Sister Mary Anne and Sister Lilly Beck at a Christmas party in India in December 1995

On October 19, 1996, Sister Mary Anne’s mother passed away. Blanche had struggled with depression since her husband’s death eight years earlier. Sally and the other Burkardt siblings worked hard to care for her and be there for her. Blanche wasn’t feeling well; so Sally went to her apartment. Ice cream sounded good to Blanche; so, Sally went to get some and, when she came back, her mom had had a heart attack. She was taken to the hospital and never recovered. All of her children and grandchildren were present for her funeral, and each of them participated in some way during the funeral Mass. Sister Mary Anne had the privilege of giving the Homily for her mother.

In 1997, she went on a sabbatical and spent time in California. A priest she met while on sabbatical, Father Donald M. Hill (Father Don), asked her to come work at St. Albert the Great parish in Louisville where he was the pastor. Despite her desire to no longer work in parishes, Sister Mary Anne agreed to be St. Albert’s Director of Religious Education (DRE). While working at St. Albert’s, Sister Mary Anne also studied part time at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska – ultimately receiving a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Direction.

Sister Mary Anne with her friends and coworkers from St. Francis of Assisi parish in Louisville, KY at St. Mary Anne’s farewell party

At the end of the school year in 2003, Mary Anne let Father Don know that she felt a need to resign from her position – it was time for a change. She felt called to meet with people on a spiritual level and not simply follow the requirements set out for young Catholic education.

For one year, Sister served as the Director of Senior Services, working in the Western Province Office. While in this position, Sister Mary Anne founded the SCN Presence Committee – a group dedicated to sitting with those Sisters near death so that they did not have to be alone when they died. This ministry appealed to Sister and, in October of 2004, she accepted a position at Nazareth Home in Louisville as the Director of Mission and Pastoral Care.

Sister Mary Anne and Sister Mary Loretto Krimple on retreat in New Jersey in August 2002

Sister Mary Anne loved her new role at Nazareth Home. She felt free to be creative and loved being with all of the Sisters at Nazareth Home. She continued to develop the Presence Committee during this time. Today, this ministry has grown considerably and is invaluable for both the Sisters who pass and the committee members who spend those last precious moments with their loved ones. (This interviewer has read many accounts in the Sisters’ annals of the SCNs of early years making an effort to sit with the dying – praying, keeping company, and simply being a comforting presence. The ministry of the Presence Committee is a beautiful continuation of a historical tradition. Sister Mary Anne’s strong desire to be present to Sisters when they are in need shines through this committee she founded.)

In October of 2010, Sister Mary Anne retired from her position of Director of Mission at Nazareth Home. Soon after, she moved from her home on Illinois Avenue in Louisville to the SCN Apartments near Nazareth Home on Newburg Road. Though officially retired, she has remained very active in the SCN community and the broader Louisville community. She served as a member of the SCN Associate Core Council from 2014 until June 2019. Mary Anne loved this ministry and continues to be a strong support to the Associates. Today, Sister Mary Anne continues to serve on the Presence Committee, the Nazareth Home board, the Passionist’s Health and Aging Board, and wherever she is needed. She is presently a resident of the Nazareth Motherhouse.

Sister Mary Anne treasures the moments she gets to spend with her seven siblings and their spouses, her sixteen nieces and nephews, and her eighteen great nieces and nephews. “My family is so beautiful to me. They are so loving and supportive. They do so much for me. I LOVE my family!” (Throughout Sister Mary Anne’s interview, her strong love for her family and the support that they give her shone through every word she spoke. Growing up close to her parents, siblings, and grandparents and the love and support that she received from them clearly served as a foundation for her vocation to serve God and share that love with all in need. Even when mentioning difficult moments with family members, childhood rivalries, and leaving to enter Community, there was never a moment in our interview that the beautiful love and closeness shared by the Burkardt family was not in evidence.)

Along with her love for her family, Sister Mary Anne’s love for the SCN Community shines brightly. She is so grateful to her Sisters in religion for the opportunities she has been given in education and in ministry. She has literally seen the world through her travels as an SCN. Even more than for the opportunities given, “I want to express my deepest gratitude for all of the personal care and concern of our leaders and the care and concern for my well-being, both spiritual and physical, that has made me – with God’s grace – the person I am today.”

Sister Mary Anne celebrating her 80th birthday in 2021 with dear friends from her vow class

(As our interview came to a close, Sister Mary Anne expressed concern that she had shared too much – that her honesty and openness had gotten her in trouble before. This interviewer sees that honesty and openness as one of God’s gifts to Sister Mary Anne. Through her years in ministry, that honesty has given countless people – students, friends, parishioners, residents at Nazareth Home, a woman considering candidacy as an SCN Associate, and many more – the courage to follow her example, to approach her, and to grow in honesty themselves.)

 

 

Interviewed by Kelly McDaniels, Archivist
with Jessica Novotny, Archival Center Intern