Sister Barbara Barry

June, 2019

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." – John 17:3

Fifty years ago this summer we experienced a manned moon landing and the canonization of a peasant woman from Cuvilly, France.  I was eighteen and had just made the biggest decision of my young life.  Deciding to try religious life was the easy decision.  Choosing between the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur was the tough decision.  My two aunts were Sisters of Mercy and I was drawn to their holiness and somewhat mysterious way of life.  At the same time I was educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame from grade 7 through high school 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 I was sure I wanted to be a Sister of Notre Dame.  During the summer, when I was able to visit my aunts and their sisters, I wanted to be a Sister of Mercy. I felt very comfortable with what I knew of each community's charism.  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 I felt the decision in my heart. I still have a great love for the Sisters of Mercy but I know I am home in Notre Dame.

I have been an educator all of my adult life–through the lens of theology. My earliest recollection of having a relationship with God is when I was nine. 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 I serve 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.  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


  1. Happy 50 years, Sr. Barbara!

    I hope you are keeping well and safe during this challenging time. Since my knee replacement surgery in January, I've been confined to my home only venturing out for physical therapy. As a result, I'm keeping safe and well thus far.

    You may have heard that Fred passed away last September. I'm comforted in knowing that he no longer suffers and doesn't have to deal with this pandemic—he surely would have been among the most vulnerable. Two years of terrible pain and suffering was enough!

    I wish you continued peace, joy, and good health. Your dedication to your vocation and the education of women was always an inspiration to me. May God bless and keep you.

    Much love,
    Connie Hyder

  2. 50 years! Time passes so quickly. I am forever grateful that my return to the classroom began as you took the helm as Principal in Tyngsboro. Your support, your friendship, your passion, and most of all your faith were crucial to my journey – one that brought me to places I would never have imagined. I think of you and those years often. What a blessing you have been and I'm sure continue to be for all of those whose lives you touch!

    Happy (belated) Golden Jubilee!

    Jacqui Carlon

    1. Thank you for the nice message, Jacqui! I have sent it on to Sister Barbara.

      (for the Sister)

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