Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2014

TRUSTEE SISTER MARY ANN BADER, RSM ‘73 Local Leader – Erie Sisters of Mercy, Erie, Pa. Trustee since Oct. 28, 2010

TRUSTEE ELLEN HAMMOND RYAN ‘64 Community volunteer, fundraising consultant, Naples, Fla., and Petoskey, Mich. Trustee since June 25, 2009 Times were tough. My dad lost his job in the summer of my junior year. The Sisters accepted my Hammond Organ in lieu of my tuition. It wasn’t the only Hammond at Mercyhurst, but I didn’t know that. Come to fnd out Ellen Hammond was a senior home economics major that fall and was doing her six-week stint in the original farmhouse on the back campus, taking care of an infant from Saint Joseph Orphanage. That’s where she was Nov. 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. Those were the years when Sister Rachel Weber was in her heyday, heading up the home ec department by day and playing the pipe organ in Christ the King Chapel at night. She used to take me to the loft with her, knowing I had trained on the pipe organ at Villa Conservatory. Funny the things we remember. A few weeks ago, Ellen told me about a faculty member from her student days at Mercyhurst. She had only one elective and took an art appreciation course from John Locktefeld. It was a tipping point and shows the powerful infuence one teacher can have on a life. As

Sometimes I call Sister Mary Ann Bader the small town girl who made good. Other times, I tell her she’s Erie’s head honcho. Leadership titles changed among the Mercies when the Erie, Pittsburgh, Bufalo, Rochester and Philippine congregations merged in 2008 to form the New York, Pennsylvania, Pacifc West Community of Sisters of Mercy. Sister Mary Ann has changed right along with them. In 2014 she was tapped to be local leader of the Erie Sisters. Years ago the title would have been president and, before that, superior. The down-to-earth Mary Ann is way more

comfortable with the 21st century title when relating to the aging Erie sisters, many of them her teachers in times past. Once numbering 220, the Erie sisters have dwindled to 41 and Sister Mary Ann is the only one of the fve postulants who entered in the “January 1968 crowd” still in religious life. “Alums of my class year won’t even remember me,” she said. “I should have graduated in 1971, but I was a novice in canonical year.” She was a teacher, music educator and principal at Saint Patrick’s in Franklin until she returned to Erie in 1995 to work at the Mercy Center for Women, then at the Diocese of Erie for six years as director of teacher personnel, and then as president of Mercyhurst Prep for 11 years. She is greatly admired by the sisters for her gentility, warmth, kindness and compassion. They would say about her, “The quality of mercy is not strained.” I would say she’s a keeper.

the years unfolded, Ellen has become deeply involved as an advocate, afcionado and leader of fundraisers to support the arts in her communities. That’s the kind of story Mother Borgia had in mind when she founded her liberal arts college. It’s 50 years later and I’m fnally able to close a heartbreaking chapter from my young life: a Hammond is still part of my Mercyhurst.


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