"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."-John 17:3
In the summer of 1969, we experienced a manned moon landing and the canonization of a peasant woman from Cuvilly, France.
Sister Barbara Barry, SNDdeN, was 18 at the time, and had just made the biggest decision of her young life.
Deciding to try religious life was the easy decision. However, choosing between the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur was the tough one.
Her two aunts were Sisters of Mercy, and Sister Barbara was drawn to their holiness and somewhat mysterious way of life.
At the same time—from grade 7 through high school— Sister Barbara was educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame, and was drawn by their prophetic life witness and joy at a very exciting Vatican II time in our church history. During the school year, Sister Barbara was sure she wanted to be a Sister of Notre Dame. During the summer, when she was able to visit her aunts and their sisters, she wanted to be a Sister of Mercy.
"I felt very comfortable with what I knew of each community’s charism," recalls Sister Barbara. "The final decision maker was a smile. Several sisters in school would make comments to me about always having a smile on my face."
One day, a sister referred to Julie as “the smiling saint,” and that’s when Sister Barbara felt the decision in her heart.
"I still have a great love for the Sisters of Mercy, but I know I am home in Notre Dame."
Through the lens of theology, Sister Barbara been an educator her entire adult life.
"My earliest recollection of having a relationship with God is when I was nine," says Sister Barbara. "I was happy with God, and wanted others to know that same happiness. Before my first profession, I chose a line from John’s gospel, that they may know you, as an inspiration for my life going forward. It is etched on the inside of my ring and is a daily reminder to me of why I do what I do."
Today, Sister Barbara serves our Sisters as a member of the province leadership team.
"I see this work as a way to make it possible for all of us to be more faithful to our mission of making God’s goodness known," says Sister Barbara. "I have been blessed to have lived in community with other women committed to prayer and nourishing one another in faith for mission. I have been equally blessed to have shared ministry with women and men who believe what we do and who make God’s goodness known. Thank you to all who have shared my life. You know who you are. Be assured of my prayer of gratitude in this Jubilee year for all you have helped me become."
St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School, Woburn, MA (teacher)
Hudson Catholic High School, Hudson, MA (teacher and assistant principal)
Academy of Notre Dame, Tyngsboro (high school principal)
Notre Dame Academy, Hingham, MA (principal and president)
Service to the Sisters
US East-West Leadership Team