Dear Sister Mary Ann, a Note of Gratitude

An Open Letter to Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Dear Sister Mary Ann,


As friends, former co-workers and distant admirers, we want you to know that you are in our hearts and prayers.

The grace, wisdom and humor you are demonstrating in the face of cancer truly inspires. During interviews and through elegant, candid writing you courageously invite us to experience an intimate part of your pilgrim journey toward the Kingdom of God. We are deeply grateful for this blessing. Please know that we think about life, illness, friendship and community in more profound ways because of your witness.

Over the years, you have touched so many lives by your service to the Church and our Catholic community. As a journalist, spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ conference and now the first woman religious on America’s editorial staff, you have charted a distinguished career. Most importantly, we appreciate who you are: a loyal friend, a quick wit, a Sister of Mercy who puts the Gospel at the center of her life. Thank you for making us proud to be Catholic.

In the words of the Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza
Former President
U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishop William Skylstad
Former President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Francis X. Doyle
Former Associate General Secretary
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Frank Monahan
Former Director, Office of Government Relations
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Timothy Collins
Former Executive Director
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Dolores R. Leckey
Former Director of Family, Laity, Women and Youth
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Senior Fellow Emerita, Woodstock Theological Center

Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Development
Georgetown University

Ronaldo Cruz
Former Executive Director, Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

John L. Carr
Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life
Georgetown University

Joan Rosenhauer
Former Associate Director for Education and Outreach
Justice Peace and Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Kathy A. Saile
Former Director, Office of Domestic Social Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sister Carol Keehan, DC
President and CEO
Catholic Health Association

Sister Anne Curtis, RSM
Justice Team
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Sister Joan Marie Steadman, CSC
Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Sister Ann Sholz, SSND
Associate Director for Social Mission
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life

Stephen Schneck
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Karen Clifton
Executive Director
Catholic Mobilizing Network

Rev. Charles Currie, S.J.
Executive Director
Jesuit Commons

Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki
Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Alexia Kelley

Dan Misleh
Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant

Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Michael Galligan-Stierle
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Thom Shellabarger
Public Policy Associate
Interfaith Worker Justice

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Jubilee USA Network

Steve Callahan
Former Economic Development Program Coordinator
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thomas Allio Jr.
Former Diocesan Social Action Director
Diocese of Cleveland

Walter Grazier
Former Policy Advisor
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
International Religious Freedom and Human Rights

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Kerry Robinson
Executive Director
National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management

Judy Coode
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J.
Senior Analyst
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters
National Catholic Reporter

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Sister Patricia Chappell
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA, SNDdeN

Frank Butler
President Emeritus

Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International

Thomas Quigley
Former Policy Advisor, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

An extraordinary minister of the holy Eucharist distributes Communion during Mass at Transfiguration Church in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
According to a report released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University on Jan. 22, just 33 percent of bishops in the United States think the church “should” ordain women as deacons.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 22, 2019

When the poet Mary Oliver died last week at the age of 83, my social media feeds blossomed into a field of tributes.

Lisa AmplemanJanuary 22, 2019
Most of the undocumented immigrants who are in the United States have overstayed a visa and did not cross the border illegally, according to a new analysis from the Center of Migration Studies.
J.D. Long-GarcíaJanuary 22, 2019
The church is my home because my home was a domestic church.
Katie Prejean McGradyJanuary 22, 2019