Published January 21, 2016
ATLANTA—Two Sisters of Mercy who served in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Sister Melanie Courtenay, RSM, and Sister Rosalie Mallard, RSM, passed away in 2015.
Sister Melanie Courtenay, RSM
Sister Melanie Courtenay, a native of Gainesville who served as administrator of Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta from 1963-69, died on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. She was 94.
Born Lucy Martin Courtenay on March 29, 1921 to Ignatius L. and Faraba Snow Courtenay, Sister Melanie entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 7, 1940 at the age of 19. She professed her final vows on Aug. 16, 1946.
She excelled in the field of nursing and hospital administration. She began her medical career at the Mercy Hospital Convent in Baltimore, Maryland. In the following years, she became the nurse supervisor in the Martin de Porres Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah, and Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Maryland in 1963 and a certificate of participation in Cornell University’s Hospital Administrators Development Program. Later in her career she became a hospital administrator at Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta and later in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. During her leadership as administrator of Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, the hospital was racially integrated. She also established the pastoral care program at the hospital.
Later Sister Melanie began a career teaching nursing as an associate professor at Georgia State University and worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta. She rounded out her professional career as the administrator for Mercy Convent in Savannah. She retired to the convent in 2006.
A humble, gentle, quiet woman, she said, “I never had regrets for my decision (to enter the convent). I did it to serve God and help my neighbors to make the world a better place.” Her ring motto is: “I live not now I, but Christ lives in me.”
Sister Melanie is survived by her Sisters of Mercy community; niece Jane Courtenay Shockley of Gainesville, and other extended family members, including cousin Sister Susan Harms, RSM, and dear friend Sister Assunta Desposito, RSM.
Sister Rosalie Mallard, RSM
Sister Rosalie Mallard, a native of Atlanta who served at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Our Lady of the Assumption Church, died on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. She was 93.
Born June 2, 1922 to James and Cecelia Hayes Mallard, Anne Louise entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 7, 1940, received her habit and her religious name on March 12, 1941, and professed her final vows on Aug. 16, 1948. Educated by the Sisters of Mercy from kindergarten through high school, she graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah. She received a bachelor of arts in education from Mount Saint Agnes College in 1948, a master’s degree in Spanish from Western Reserve University in 1960 and a certification in Clinical Pastoral Education from the Georgia Mental Health Association in 1977.
An educator for most of her ministry, Sister Rosalie taught at the elementary and high school levels in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pensacola, Florida, Atlanta and Savannah.
After her CPE training, she turned her eyes toward health care, working in pastoral care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the first director of the pastoral care department at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, as a pastoral minister at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Atlanta, as pastoral minister at Mercy Medical in Daphne, Alabama, and as chaplain at St. Joseph’s/Candler in Savannah. She continued her ministry to the sick in her retirement years at The Villa, where she spent much time “in vigil” with sisters as they were dying. Her quiet, gentle presence was a great gift to them. Sister Rosalie later retired to Mercy Convent in Savannah.
Asked why she was drawn to and entered the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Rosalie said simply, “To live in close union with Christ.” She was drawn to the Mercy community’s combined charism of contemplation and action. She valued the changes in religious life after Vatican II, noting that, without having a required routine for prayer, one became more responsible for one’s own prayer life. The changes “made us interiorize our commitment and project it to others. The artificial, external had been removed, and we had to act and live like sisters.”
She is survived by her Sisters of Mercy community, many cousins and friends.
Contributions in memory of Sister Melanie or Sister Rosalie can be sent to Mercy Convent, 11801 McAuley Drive, Savannah, GA 31419.