Meet Sister Barbara (Anthony) Hamm

Barbara Hamm loves to dance. “I’ve danced since before I could walk,” she says. “My father would put me on top of the table when the music was playing and he would dance me around the table.” And in her 75 years of service as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur she has shown to be light on her feet, loving the variety of different places and people she has encountered in her ministry and travels.

Barbara Hamm, right, was a yell leader with Virginia Rima at Campus Day on May 23, 1944 at NDHS Watsonville.

She first encountered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur when she left her home in Hollister, CA to board at the Sisters’ high school in Watsonville. After graduating, she entered the order and became Sr. Anthony. She majored in history at what was then the College of Notre Dame and later received master’s degrees in education administration and religious education.

Sister served in many different Notre Dame schools during her 30 years as a teacher and administrator in California, Oregon and Washington. She particularly enjoyed being principal, saying “A lot of people didn’t like it, but I did because you interacted with so many people.” Former Notre Dame Elementary in San Francisco student Geri (Gilbert) DeGroote commented that “Her presence exuded both discipline and religious devotion. I admired her and never forgot her.”

Sister Barbara then served in parish ministry, and for her work at St. John Parish in Milpitas, she received the Pope Paul VI Award in recognition of 10 years’ service in liturgical ministry to the Church of San Jose. Once again, her love of variety was an asset; “When you worked in parish ministry you met different types of people, different problems, different activities; it was more varied than being at a school.”

Sr. Barbara Hamm, far right, with Sr. Ruth (Mary Claude) Younger and parents and students in San Francisco.

Always interested in what her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur throughout the world were doing, Sr. Barbara took advantage of opportunities to attend conferences and other gathering: “I enjoyed seeing the other places where we were and meeting the nuns from all over.” Her travels included an inspiring pilgrimage to Namur, Belgium, the original foundation of the Sisters.

Sr. Barbara Hamm enjoyed travelling to other Notre Dame sites around the world.

Sr. Barbara has enjoyed all of her ministries and feels “very happy and privileged” to have met and made so many good friends over the years. Georgia Ladd, who has known Sr. Barbara for decades, described her in 2014 as “a woman of simplicity, integrity, humor and discernment with a straight-forward approach to life. She is someone I look up to as a mentor, so that even today, 70 years into her vocation, Sr. Barbara teaches me to face changes with grace.”

She now resides at Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland, and the skills she developed with her father on the table are still on display. “Barbara dances every single day by walking down the halls and having her cane tap out a tune,” says Sr. Sharon Joyer, SNDdeN. “She can get all kinds of people in the corridors to smile and bring out their best!”

Ministries

Educator

Notre Dame School, Marysville, CA
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redwood City, CA
Moreland Notre Dame School, Watsonville, CA
Notre Dame Elementary, San Francisco, CA
Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Belmont, CA
St. Francis of Assisi School, Seahurst, WA
Dolores & Guadalupe Schools, Santa Barbara, CA
St. Columbkille’s School, Los Angeles, CA
Notre Dame Elementary, San Francisco, CA
Holy Angels Elementary School, Yuba City, CA
St. Stephen Elementary School, Portland, OR
Sacred Heart Elementary, Salinas, CA
Mission Dolores School, San Francisco, CA

Parish Ministry

Madonna del Sasso, Salinas, CA
Holy Spirit, San Jose, CA (Liturgy Coordinator)
St. Christopher, San Jose, CA

Secretary

St. Lucy Parish, Campbell, CA
St. Maria Goretti Parish, San Jose, CA
Valley Church, San Jose, CA
Notre Dame Villa, Saratoga, CA

To make a gift to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in honor of Sr. Barbara, please click here.

Sr. Barbara Hamm with family and friends at her 70th Jubilee celebration in 2014