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Mary Anthony Gallant

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 02/09/2010

Sister Mary Anthony (Estelle Gallant)
October 13th 1915 – September 2nd, 2010

Estelle Gallant was born on October 13th, 1915 in Worcester, Massachusetts of Estelle Bond and James Gallant. She grew up with two brothers and three sisters in a strong Catholic family.

Always a determined lass, Estelle swam the Quinsigamond Lake at age seven and became an instant celebrity. A popular socialite at parties and parish activities she caught many by surprise when she chose to enter the Marist Missionary Sisters on February 15th, 1941 and made her first vows in Bedford, Massachusetts on August 15th, 1943.

After profession, Sr Mary Anthony studied at Emmanuel College, and then was appointed director of the Alofa Malia Club, an association of young career women who organized many fund raising activities to support the mission of the SMSM. She also worked in the “stamp bureau” - collecting foreign stamps was another source of income for our Sisters in those days.

Missioned to Samoa in 1948, Sister taught at Savalalo, and later in Leone. She returned to Massachusetts in 1951 to give service again as procurator for the Sisters and the missions. She was always known for her ability to raise and manage money, a gift badly needed by our struggling congregation.

In 1970 she was missioned to Hansen Home in Spanish Town, Jamaica, in the West Indies. There she was the bookkeeper and became a great friend to the patients as she took care of their accounts and financial needs. With the close of Hansen Home, sister was assigned to Kingston and worked at St Joseph Hospital. But in 1977, Sr Mary Anthony was recalled to assist in the financial management of the Province and to be moderator for the Alofa Malia Club once again.

This seemed to be the pattern of her life: Sr M Anthony was an outstanding fund-raiser, manager and communicator. Though she spent just 10 of the first 60 years of her religious life overseas, she worked wholeheartedly to advance the mission of the congregation from “behind the scenes.” She was a real “bond of communion” for SMSM around the world as she sent little notes and jokes to Sisters all around the world.

In 2003, following knee surgery and the removal of her knee because of infection, she was admitted to Maristhill Nursing Home. Many wondered how this vibrant woman would adapt to such confinement. But she never saw life in the nursing home as “retirement” from life. She didn’t complain, but said that God had given her this time for greater contemplation and growth in her spiritual life. Many who visited were amazed at her joyful spirit and came away inspired.

Sr Mary Anthony continued her mission by taking a very active part in the Maristhill community. She was elected President of the Resident Council and would call the Department Heads to meetings to answer the concerns of the residents. She had a strong sense of justice and would be a voice for the vulnerable. She also wanted Maristhill to be the best place for care.

An avid reader, her bookcase was full of the writings of the Popes, the latest spiritual books, and a collection of Agatha Christie novels. Though bedridden, she organized her room as an office, from which she continued to write notes to the Sisters, especially those in remote areas and the temporary professed, former members of the Alofa Malia, other friends and family. She was always thinking of others. Despite this, she was genuinely amazed last July when so many sisters throughout the world wrote to her promising prayers at the time when she had to have her leg amputated. Those messages of support meant so much to her during her last weeks.

We will not forget you, Sr Mary Anthony, and we ask you to pray for us. Obtain for us that grace of perseverance and missionary love for others. You have shown us how to touch the world from a nursing home bed. Let us touch our world wherever we are with the same daring and selflessness.

Sr Judith Sheridan, smsm
Provincial