Baseball-Loving Nun Prays For Autographs

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If the Philadelphia Phillies are looking for some divine inspiration to kick-start their flagging season, team officials might want visit a sports-loving sister in South Philly.

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by Rory McGlasson

SISTER Mary-Anne Gardner, of St. Anthony of Padua, 9th & Peirce, wears her autographed pink Phillies sun visor with pride. She prays each day for every name written on her hat.
The visor, however, is not signed by Ryan Howard, Chase Utley or Charlie Manuel — it’s signed by the people of her parish: elementary-school children and strangers she meets on the street.
In return for autographing her visor, the 74-year-old elementary schoolteacher prays for that person — or for a person the signer requests.

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THAT “P” on Sister Mary-Anne Gardner’s Philadelphia Phillies sun visor, shown here as she enters St. Rita of Cascia Church on Solemn Feast Day, might represent the Phillies famous motif; but for St. Anthony of Padua nun, “P” stands for prayer. Photo/Rory McGlasson

THAT “P” on Sister Mary-Anne Gardner’s Philadelphia Phillies sun visor, shown here as she enters St. Rita of Cascia Church on Solemn Feast Day, might represent the Phillies famous motif; but for St. Anthony of Padua nun, “P” stands for prayer. Photo/Rory McGlasson

It’s a great trade. “It’s something I started last year with the schoolchildren,” she said. “The kids came up with the idea.
“I pray for the person who signs it – or for whomever they want me to pray for,” she said. “It’s fun. Anybody can sign it.”
To-date, Sister Gardner, has collected over 25 signatures.
And if Chase Utley wanted to sign it her hat, the 59-year sister of the Religious Teachers Filippini said she would pray for him a quick recovery from injury.
“Oh, I would let anyone sign my hat,
“I would pray for anyone’s health, absolutely!”

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