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Ann Ruston Healey

December 29, 1939 - August 21, 2018

Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Holy Family Catholic Church.

Visitation: 4 p.m. Friday, August 24, 2018 at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home.

Vigil: 5 p.m. Friday, August 24, 2018 at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home.

Interment: Will be at a later date in Hanover, Indiana.

Memorials: Those who wish to make a donation in Ann’s honor may do so to Community Hospice of Texas, 6100 Western Place, Suite 105, Fort Worth, TX 76107; James L. West Alzheimer’s Care Center, 1111 Summit Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76102; Society of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Houston Associate Community, 10204 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77024; or Sisters of St. Mary de Namur, 909 West Shaw Street, Fort Worth, TX 76110

Ann Ruston Healey, 78, former director of Permanent Deacon Formation for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, died peacefully at James L. West Alzheimer’s Center, Fort Worth, on August 21, 2018.

Born on December 29, 1939 in Havana Cuba, she was raised in Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City.  She was a world-traveler, even as a little girl, due to her father’s work as a General Manager with Pam American Airways.  She described herself as “bi-lingual and bi-cultural,” and she used these skills and gifts throughout her life.  She was a member of St. Andrew Catholic Church and served as a reader and an RCIA instructor there.

Ann graduated with a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1960 and worked as a Spanish language translator for an insurance company in Chicago.  Ann’s passion and sense of service was always toward those most in need.  In 1962, she received her certification in Social Work from Cook County and worked in community mental health and services to the elderly.  In 1965, she graduated with an M.A. in Religious Studies from Loyola University (Mundelein), and entered the Sisters of the Cenacle, serving in rural communities in the south and at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Warrenville.  She earned a Certificate in Pastoral Care from St. Louis University in 1980 and completed training as a hospital chaplain, including supervisory studies at Barnes Hospital, St. Louis; Mercy Hospital, Bakersfield, CA; and Immanuel Medical Center, Omaha, NE.

In 1984, Ann accepted the position of Director of Permanent Deacon Formation for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and devoted the next 26 years to the formation of men as ordained deacons, ministering throughout north Texas.  Serving under Bishop Joseph Delaney and his successor, Bishop Kevin Vann, she developed a multi-disciplinary program in both English and Spanish, which included formal studies, spiritual formation, the participation of candidates’ wives, annual summer service projects, and a year-long internship leading to ordination. She served on the writing committee for the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons, first published by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003.

She developed and directed the Light of Christ Lay Ministry Institute, to prepare lay men and women for service in the diocese.  In 1989, she completed her Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling.  Her doctoral dissertation focused on mid-life development of men in formation for ministry as Permanent Deacons.  In 2011, she was awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict XVI for her dedicated service to the Church.

Ann was the second woman in the United States to direct a deacon formation program and the only woman elected by her peers as President of the National Association of Deacon Directors, a position she held from 1994-1996.  Throughout her years of service to the NADD, she received many awards, including the Philbin Award, the highest honor given to a Diaconate Director.  During her tenure as Director of Formation, Ann liked to say that she “gave over 80 deacons to the Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth.”  She retired in 2010 and continued to teach in parish and diocesan programs and to volunteer at Carswell Federal Women’s Prison in Fort Worth, which named her “Volunteer of the Year” in 2015.  She was active as an Associate Member of the Society of the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) and regularly attended and was a presenter at their meetings in Houston.

She is preceded in death by her parents H. Max Healey and Elizabeth (Libbie) Rea Healey, her sister Patricia (Patsy) Healey, and her grandparents.  She is survived by her long-time friend and co-worker, Judy Locke, and by many friends, colleagues, and deacon couples throughout the diocese and the U.S.