Sr. Barbara celebrated 65 years of profession as a Redemptoristine on January 15. She explains that her call to convert to Catholicism in her 20s and eventually to become a nun was sparked by the movie “The Song of Bernadette,” which she saw on a date with her boyfriend.
Born in Ontario, Canada, her life was blessed by the presence of Fr. John Lambert, a zealous Redemptorist missionary who came upon this jewel and knew she was destined to join the Redemptoristine Nuns. (As a matter of fact, years later he could also claim to have guided several other women to the convent.) As one of the first three women to enter the English-speaking Redemptoristines in Canada, she lived with the four foundresses that had come from England to make the foundation. Mother Mary Celeste of Canadian origin was especially a mentor for the young aspirant. When the foundation was made in Liguori in April 1960, the now Sr. Mary Gerard of Jesus was sent to serve as the first Superior.
The Lord has gifted her with artistic talents, and her paintings can be found in Canada as well as the USA. Br. Dan Korn, the Denver Province iconologist, raves about the genuine warmth and detail she has written in the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. One of her icons is displayed in the monastery lobby to greet visitors. Sr. Barbara also is a seamstress and makes the capes for the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre.
It is without doubt that Sr. Mary Gerard – now known by Barbara, her baptismal name – has made a great impact on the Sisters with whom she lives. Cheerfulness, a sense of encouragement, a positive attitude and the ability to laugh at herself make her a valuable community member. Her life of dedicated prayer these 65 years has borne fruit and called down God’s graces on our Redemptorists, their ministries and the many other people included in her prayers.
The Redemptoristines are inviting young women who would like to meet Sr. Barbara and the rest of their community to a “Come and See” week August 2-9. Please contact the Redemptoristines for more information at 636.464.1093. Sr. Barbara began her journey long ago, but she says that from her own experience, the journey continues each day, every day. A good example for us all!
by Sr. Ann Marie, O.Ss.R