The saints were saints because they were cheerful when it was difficult to be cheerful, patient when it was difficult to be patient, silent when they wanted to speak and agreeable when they felt an urge to scream. They pushed forward when they wanted to stand still. (Fr. Lawrence Lovasik)
I’m not sure how many folks are aware that the beautiful and well-loved courtyard at Guerin Catholic High School was provided to the students there by the Bates family. It was given in memory of Dr. John Bates by his wife, Ann, and their children Carolyn, Will and Hank.
I met Ann Bates not long after she’d lost her husband, but I didn’t know that at the time. I knew her only as I observed her to be. She was generous with her time, gentle, and truly kind. She loved up ALL those smelly GC football boys and kept them well-fed and loved during her time at Guerin Catholic! Ann’s a woman of deep faith, and it showed in her interactions with others. Her son, Will, was a cheerful kid a year older than my son, Nick, and he and his buddy, Vincent Ferrucci just always enjoyed him. He was a good egg to all the younger guys, and often a reason for their smiling too as he always had a great sense of humor!! I’d sit in the stands and cheer on the Golden Eagles that year and for a few years thereafter and there was Ann, ever present for her football loving guys. My Drew played with her youngest son, Hank, and he was as impressive on the field as he was in the classroom. Though I never got the chance to know her daughter, Carolyn, I feel confident that she is an equally character filled young woman, because after all, she was raised by one strong momma who is long on integrity!
This year, as her “baby” headed off to college, Ann suffered another loss. The very same day she left South Bend after dropping off Hank is the same day her sister passed away from cancer.
Although Ann and I have never been close friends, I have long admired her positivity and perseverance. We share some people in common, therefore I was asked to pray for Ann, and I am on it, because I believe deeply in their power! I know that this woman of God will have many others doing the same for her, and the Lord of all goodness will rain down grace on Ann Bates. Today, as I pondered who to write about in my “Mad for 2019” project, I kept getting distracted by thoughts about Ann. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is loud and I am thick in the head.
There’s just SO MUCH all of us around Ann can learn from her strength and her beautiful spirit and faithfulness. Thank you, Ann, for being a light to others and a holy example for the rest of us to follow! Truly, your authenticity and the quality of your character is inspiring. You are an amazing mom, and a beautiful human being…and I am praying for the repose of the soul of your sis…and peace of mind and heart for the entire family!
“In every age and at every stage of their passage through time, the experience of Christians has been a share in the experience of Christ which includes joy and peace– but also emphatically includes suffering.” (Fr. John Hardon)