Forever a Pioneer
Sr. Ann Belliveau, '54 G
Growing up in Lynn, MA, Sr. Ann Belliveau became acquainted with the Sisters of Saint Anne through her schooling at St. John the Baptist and knew at a very young age that she wanted to be a part of the mission of this wonderful congregation of religious women. While attending St. Anne Academy in Marlborough, MA she decided at age 16 to join the Order and she has never looked back.
Sr. Ann began her religious life in Lachine, CA, teaching piano and preparing for her vows, which she took when she was 19. She had been studying the piano since she was in the third grade, and despite attempts to sway her to follow other vocations, like playing the violin or becoming a nurse, Sr. Ann’s passion and talent for the piano made it her life’s work.
In 1951, Sr. Ann returned to Marlborough, MA to study music performance and voice at the newly opened Anna Maria College. She joined the College a year before its move to Paxton and has fond memories of her early years with AMC. “I remember the silo attached to Trinity Hall,” she recollects. “I also saw the building of Miriam Hall, which was exciting for all music students because we had to travel every day to Worcester to study the piano,” she adds.
After graduating from Anna Maria in 1954, Sr. Ann began teaching in Worcester until she was directed to attend Catholic University in Washington, DC to continue her music studies. It was while she was at Catholic University that Sr. Ann became acquainted with what would become her second passion in life: the study of psychology.
When searching for a minor, she approached the head of the psychology department and despite his warning that no one had ever majored in music and minored in psychology, she decided to take the risk and follow her heart. It wasn’t until a few years later that Sr. Ann would realize that her choice of study had prepared her for a vocation she never knew existed. “During this time a new profession was developing in the Midwest: Music Therapy,” she explains. “After learning more about it, I realized that I was extremely prepared to become a music therapist. It was as if it was pre-determined that I would join this growing field.”
Sr. Ann travelled to the University of Kansas where she had only one year of study before she could graduate with a degree in music therapy. She chose to do her internship in the psych field and spent six months living with the Carmelites in Milwaukee, WI while working at a local psych hospital. From there, Sr. Ann headed back east where she spent the next seven years working at Connecticut Psychiatric Hospital. “I really enjoyed my profession during these years in Connecticut,” she shares. “I was able to sponsor student interns from various universities and was pleased to be asked to supervise all hospital therapists. It truly was a blessed time.”
However, while she loved her vocation, Sr. Ann remained committed to her Congregation, and when the leadership asked her to return to Anna Maria College to initiate and build up a music therapy program, she heeded the call. With the help of some very dedicated colleagues, in 1979 Sr. Ann launched the music therapy program at AMC, which has become a hallmark of the College, gaining it national and international attention in the field.
Always passionate about life and ready to take on a new challenge, Sr. Ann heard and answered the call for volunteers and eventually left AMC for the missions in Chile, where she spent her time divided between the educational needs of the children and the supportive needs of the adults.
In the early 80s, Sr. Ann left Chile briefly to attend the Formation Institute at the University of St. Louis so she could become prepared to take on a new task of mentoring postulates and subsequently be assigned to religious formation. It was at St. Louis that she learned more about another ground-breaking program: The Enneagram, a psychological approach to understanding personality traits. As its use became wide-spread, Sr. Ann adopted it to teach postulates, novices and professed sisters. She translated teaching materials into Spanish and taught the program to fourteen different Orders over a thirteen year period in Chile.
Sr. Ann has always been a true pioneer. While remaining committed to the mission of her beloved Congregation, she has embraced new challenges and has always found ways to enjoy life. Today, at 84, she teaches ESL or Spanish at the Provincial House in Marlboro, and because her Brazilian friends shared their beautiful language with her, she has picked up enough Portuguese to enjoy a good book. She is also still involved in music therapy sessions and remains ever grateful to the Worcester Art Museum where she had the opportunity to finally study art after returning to the States.