Bernadette Garcia’s first grade teacher at Notre Dame Elementary School, San Francisco, was Sister Matilda Carmel. Bernie quickly decided that Sister’s dress was very pretty, especially her beads, and Sister Bernie, as she is now known, decided there and then that she wanted a dress and beads just like that. And who can deny that a Call can come in many mysterious ways?! Sister also said that from the beginning she felt the good spirit of the school.
Sister Bernie's career as an educator included Notre Dame de Namur and parish elementary schools in California with the exception of the six very happy years at St. Mark’s School in Seattle, Wash. The people there were wonderful to work with, and the '70s were a time when changes were taking place in the Church and the Congregation—a time of openness and new vision. She also enjoyed teaching at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Salinas, Calif., for over 11 years.
Although she has taught mostly primary grades, her favorite teaching assignment is kindergarten. Sister Bernie loves the age, loves the spontaneity of the children. There is never a dull moment and there are laughs every day! Betty Dolan, a friend from St. John Notre Dame School in Folsom, Calif., and a mother of four sons, affirms how great Sister Bernie is with kids; “She’s conscientious, with a great sense of humor, resourceful and creative.”
From 2004 to 2006, Sister Bernie served on the staff of the House of Prayer in Carmel, Calif. While she loved the beauty of the place, she realized that she missed the children and the teaching and offered to go Moreland Notre Dame School in Watsonville, Calif. to do what she loved best—teaching! She taught third grade there for nine years and says, “The dedication and enthusiasm is so apparent there. I was happy to be a part of Moreland Notre Dame.” And she made students, teachers, parents and friends happy, too!
Sister Bernie expresses gratitude to her fellow SNDdeN. "The sisters I lived with or met had a great influence on me, both spiritually and mentally." Sister Bernie is now retired at the Province Center in Belmont, Calif., where her generous spirit and many skills bring joy to all.
Sister Bernie's Ministries
1964-67 Sacred Heart Elementary School, Salinas, Calif. (Teacher, Grades 3, 2, & 1)
1967-69 Most Holy Trinity School, San Jose, Calif. (Teacher, Grades 2 & 1)
1970 St. Mark School, Seattle, Wash. (Teacher, Grade 1)
1976-83 St. John Notre Dame, Folsom, Calif. (Teacher, Grade 1)
1984-2003 Sacred Heart Elementary School, Salinas, Calif. (Teacher)
2004-06 Notre Dame House of Prayer, Carmel, Calif. (Staff)
2006-2015 Moreland Notre Dame School, Watsonville, Calif. (Teacher)
2016 Notre Dame de Namur Province Center, Belmont, Calif. (Volunteer Services)