Barbara was born in Winnipeg, Canada. Eventually the entire family moved to Marysville, California, where St. Joseph Church and Notre Dame School were the center of her early Catholic life. She remembers helping the Sisters teach the younger children during summer school and thinking that she, too, would like to be a teacher.
Most of her teaching career was spent in Notre Dame de Namur elementary schools in Chico and Alameda, then in high schools in Watsonville, San Jose, Belmont, Marysville, and Salinas, California. One of her favorite assignments was Hawaii, where she had the opportunity to teach on a faculty with many Sisters from different religious orders.
Sister Barbara, who is gentle, soft-spoken, attentive to others and very kind, also served as Principal and, with “the grace of the charge,” the unlikely position of dean of discipline. She especially enjoyed teaching religion and history and was inspired by the enthusiasm and idealism of the high school students she taught.
Community living in Notre Dame has been a special blessing for Sister Barbara. She has felt the goodness, faithfulness, and spirituality of her Sisters as a gift in her life. When she served as the Director of the Boarding School, Sister Teresa Augustine wrote of her: “Sensitivity has made Sister Barbara special and all of life special to her. Her realization that the awesomeness of living is contained in seemingly inconsequential details enables her to be deeply and delicately aware of people, a vital quality for a Boarding School Director and Guidance Director.”
Sister Barbara has stated that “the presence of God is the greatest blessing of my years as a Sister. In the ordinariness of life, in the small miracles — it is being present in quiet in the community of prayer.”
At the Province Center in Belmont, where she lived for several years, she was happy to assist in the third grade at Immaculate Heart of Mary School and to take Communion to the sick at Belmont Vista Convalescent Home.
Now residing at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland, Sister Barbara can be counted on to accompany any of the Sisters when they are dying. She continues to do what she has done all her life—reflect the goodness of God and find it in others.
In Sister Barbara’s own words:
“Oh my, I’m in Chapel
Looking at the Lord
Seeking to be blessed
Four of us now
God is here!”
Sister Barbara's Ministries
1948-54 Notre Dame Elementary School, Chico, CA
1954-56 Notre Dame Elementary School, Alameda, CA
1956-57 Notre Dame High School, Watsonville, CA
1957-62 Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA
1962-63 Notre Dame High School, Belmont, CA
1963-64 Blanchett High School, Seattle, WA
1964-67 Notre Dame High School, Belmont, CA
1967-69 Notre Dame Elementary School, Chico, CA (Superior, Principal and Teacher)
1969-70 Notre Dame High School, Marysville, CA
1970-74 Star of the Sea High School, Honolulu, HI
1974-82 Notre Dame High School, Salinas, CA
1982-84 Notre Dame High School, Belmont, CA
1984-87 Free Wheeler's Association, San Francisco, CA
1987-88 Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, CA (Coordinator)
1992-94 Notre Dame Villa, Saratoga, CA (Administrative Assistant)
1994-96 Madonna del Sasso School, Salinas, CA (ESL & Literacy)
1996-2003 Moreland Notre Dame School, Watsonville, CA
2003- Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Belmont, CA (Volunteer) and Belmont Vista Convalescent Home, Belmont CA (Volunteer)