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Age Is Just A Number When Serving Others


At 80 Sister Mary Ann Eultgen is being honored as a "Remarkable St. Louisan"



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Sister Mary Ann Eultgen traverses the halls of St. Anthony's Medical Center in a scooter during her rounds as a chaplain. (click for larger version)
October 25, 2013
Octogenarian Sister Mary Ann Eultgen has had many jobs over the almost 65 years she's been a Sister of Christian Charity. She's served as an elementary school teacher, a principal, a charitable board member, and now a chaplain three days a week for St. Anthony's Medical Center in South St. Louis County.

For her many years of service to the community she is now being recognized by St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors System as an Ageless-Remarkable St. Louisan. She is among 19 exceptional performers, athletes and community leaders over the age of 75 who have made outstanding contributions to the community. They will honored at the awards gala on Nov. 10 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis.

"I've had all kinds of jobs in my life; now I'm a chaplain. But I loved them all!" Sister Mary Ann said. "I work in the heart unit at St. Anthony's. I visit people before they have surgery, stay with their relatives during the procedure, and meet with them all afterward. We visit in the hospital until they go to step-down.

"I bond easily with the families and the patients, especially when they stay awhile," said Sister Mary Ann.

On Sundays, she is the only member of the Pastoral Care staff on-call in a substantially sized medical center.

"One of the doctors was kind enough to buy me a scooter to get from one end of the hospital to the other; it's very convenient," she said.

She may traverse the hospital halls in a scooter, but she is indefatigable in her efforts to help the poor and disadvantaged, as Ashley Turigliatto of St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors System can attest.

"I worked with her on the board for St. Vincent Home for Children; that's how I got to know her," Turigliatto said. "She's a dynamo! She was on my gala committee and brought in a truckload of auction donations.

"She would walk the streets of the Central West End and just go into places and ask them for donations," she continued. "She went into a newly-opened tax service office and they told her they were so new, they had nothing to offer her. She spied a brand new vacuum cleaner, still in the box, and said, 'What about that?' They gave her the vacuum."

"Once," added Turigliatto, "she ran into (former St. Louis Cardinal) Al Hrabosky at a private event, and she asked him if he would play in our charity golf tournament. He gave her his number, and she stalked him until he agreed to come and play.

"He told me, 'I can't say no to a nun!' Sister Mary Ann is really spiritual, and she's a really hard worker," Turigliatto said.

In addition to her work at St. Anthony's and on the board of St. Vincent Home for Children, she's also traveled to Costa Rica three times in recent years to help establish medical clinics in impoverished areas.

When she is not working, Sister Mary Ann resides with the Sisters of Loretto on Lockwood Avenue in Webster Groves. Sister Mary Ann's order, Sisters of Christian Charity, has shrunk over the years, and their closest residence is in Wilmette, Ill.

"My vocation started with my mother," explained Sister Mary Ann. "She raised all five of us children, and she would pray, 'Mary, help me get through this day!'

"She would talk to the Blessed Mother, and I think she wanted to be a nun, so two of her daughters did," Sister Mary Ann said, noting her older sister, Carolyn, now lives at the Wilmette Province home.

On Nov. 10, Sister Mary Ann will be honored for her volunteerism and dedication to service.

"St. Anthony's bought me a table of ten for my family and friends," Sister Eultgen said.

The public is welcome to attend the gala and enjoy videos, a gallery of photos, and a three-course dinner. Tickets are $175 each and available by calling St. Andrew's at 726-0111 or www.standrews1.com.

This week, however, Sister Mary Ann plans to watch baseball.

"I went to school at St. Augustine's school in North St. Louis, close to Sportsman's Park," she said. "We would get free passes, the Knothole Gang passes, for all the weekday games.

"That's why I say, 'Go Cards! Go all the way!'" Sister Mary Ann added, "We live here with a Sister from Boston. We are going to have fun!"

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