Sister Barbara Frances Barr, M.M. Maryknoll Sister for 75 Years, Dies

Maryknoll, NY: Sister Barbara Frances Barr, M.M. died on August 27th, 2022 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was 94 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 75 years.

Barbara was born in Ancon, Canal Zone, the Republic of Panama on August 12th, 1928, to Robert Barr and Mary Frances (Westberg) Barr. She had one sister, Helen and four brothers, Thomas, John, Francis and Peter; all of whom have pre-deceased her..

Barbara attended Balboa High School, and graduated in 1946. She then studied at the Canal Zone Junior College from 1945 – 1947, where she obtained an Associate of Arts Degree. She did this while working as a cashier for the Panama Canal Company. She then entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Maryknoll, NY on September 6th, 1947 from Sacred Heart Parish in Panama City.

Sister Barbara pronounced her First Vows on March 7th, 1950 in Maryknoll, NY and her Final Vows, three years later on March 7th, 1953 in Bolivia. From 1949-1952, she continued her studies at the Maryknoll Teachers College (located on the property of the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY) where she earned a Bachelor of Education Degree. Her first overseas mission assignment was to Bolivia in 1952. There she studied Spanish in Cochabamba for six months and in 1953 was assigned to Guayamarin to serve as a substitute Principal for six months. She then transferred to San José and Riberalta in the Beni vicariate of Bolivia to teach short hand, typing and English to students.

In 1955 she was assigned to Lima, Peru where she taught 5th grade until 1959. In 1959 she returned to Cochabamba, Bolivia and taught 3rd grade at Santa Ana Parish School. During this time, she also taught High School Art until 1964. She then relocated to Cobija to teach 6th grade and was also in charge of the Youth Club for two years. In 1966 she returned again to Riberalta, Bolivia to serve as Principal of the Parish Primary School where she remained for the next four years.

In 1970 Sister Barbara returned to the United States where she did mission education and promotion work in Texas and Chicago for two years. She then went back to Guayarmarin, Beni, Bolivia where she served as the Primary School Principal. While there, she also worked with the Parent Teachers Association and began to do teacher training until 1979.

In 1979 Sister Barbara was assigned to Santa Cruz, Bolivia where she worked with Maryknoll’s “Evangelization by Radio” for rural areas, writing scripts for the programs and assisting in their production department until 1984. She was also doing religious formation in public high schools during this time. From 1984-1987, she served  in Montero, Department of Santa Cruz, working on the Rural Pastoral Project. In 1988 she began working with CEPRIFEM (Center for Integral Promotion of Rural Women).

In 1990 Sister Barbara returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY to work in the Communication’s Office as a writer for three years and served on the Congregation’s Center Council before returning to Santa Cruz, Bolivia to again work with CEPRIFEM until 1998.  She then retired to the Maryknoll Sisters Center where she worked as Mail Desk Supervisor in the Development Department until 2005. She remained at the Maryknoll Sisters Center until her death.

Funeral Service:

A Vespers Service will be held on Thursday, September 1st, 2022 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Friday, September 2nd, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. also at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. Burial will follow in the Sisters cemetery.