She’s Singing Our Song
THE REMARKABLE MARIE BELLET
The experience of living abroad often gives the returning native an especially acute sense of perspective. The sudden juxtaposition of past and present creates a vivid comparison, and the insight gained from that comparison can be riveting. For Marie Bellet, a young American wife and mother returning home in 1992 after four years in Singapore and Spain, that insight was both powerful and disturbing. Ultimately, it would lead her to a path more interesting, to roles more public, and to positions less popular than any she might otherwise have imagined.
Bellet, a native of Champaign-Urbana, Ill., grew up in a loving Catholic household, the third of eight children. An excellent student (with considerable musical talent), she started college at Rice, received her undergraduate degree at Swarthmore in 1982, and went on to a subsequent MBA at Vanderbilt in 1984. Staying in the Nashville area after graduation, she began a career in the health-care industry, simultaneously indulging her vocal talent by participating in the local music scene during off-duty hours. Success at work led to promotions to positions of progressively increasing responsibility; the excitement and fun of her off-duty hours included back-up vocals and demo recordings (one with contemporary country-and-western star Alan Jackson).
Job duties eventually brought her together with the man who would become her husband, Bill Bellet, a clinical psychologist (whom Marie describes as a “psychologist with sense”). A Catholic convert, Bill shared with Marie the goal of building a loving, nurturing family: The two fell in love, and were married in June 1987. They were soon expecting their first child, and the event precipitated a significant change of focus for the young wife. She felt drawn to devote herself more to her husband and unborn child, and less to her professional duties. With her husband’s agreement, Marie left her job in the health-care industry to prepare for the birth. Shortly thereafter, Bill’s company assigned him to a position in Singapore. The couple moved in 1988, and was blessed with their first child later that year. With the move and the birth, Marie’s involvement in the Nashville music scene ended abruptly, but as a matter of choice, and without regret.
The relative isolation from friends and family during the subsequent years in Singapore inspired her to investigate more fully the tenets of her faith. Without the distractions of what she calls the “brain-scrambling noise” of Western culture, Marie immersed herself in Catholic doctrine. Building on the example of her own parents, she formulated a personal Christian commitment of “sacrificial love as a mother and wife.” As the strength of her commitment grew, so too did her family; before Marie left Singapore, she was pregnant with her third child, who was born during the couple’s subsequent assignment in Spain.
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