Sr. Barbara Baker – 60 Years
Sister Barbara grew up in Scottsville, New York; she went to public schools and had little knowledge of Sisters. When she was a sophomore in high school, her mother suggested that she attend a talk being given at the Rosary Society by the local Mission Helpers.
“I really didn’t want to go,” she says, “and I managed to get a babysitting job for that night and thought that ended the discussion.” But her mother was enthusiastic about the Mission Helpers and encouraged Barbara to find out more about the Community. She did. “And that,” she says, “is where it all began.”
She visited the Sisters at their convent and school in nearby Fairport, New York, and received her acceptance to the Community on Ash Wednesday of 1960. She recalls her early years at the Mission Helpers Motherhouse in Baltimore County: “We were cloistered, we did everything together, we dressed alike. We went out to school, but everything else was done in-house.”
After studying with Sister Judith Zeiler, MHSH, a nationally-known leader in the field of religious education, Sister Barbara was assigned to Brockway, Pennsylvania, where she taught both children and adults. Then it was on to Erie, Pennsylvania, as a diocesan instructor in adult education.
In Pittsburgh, she was chosen to serve in a new position in the Church—Director of Religions Education (DRE). Her first position as a DRE was art St. Anthony Cabrini Parish in the coal mining region of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
She served as a consultant on religious education in various dioceses before accepting a call as pastoral associate at Transfiguration Parish in Marietta, Georgia, and was there for 12 years “loving the people and the ministry.”
In 1999 she was called back to upstate New York, to the “cluster churches” of St. Charles Borromeo and St. Jude the Apostle in Rochester, not far from where she was born. Since 2015, she has been pastoral associate at the Church of the Resurrection in Fairport, New York, where she first met the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.
Sister Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Manhattan College in New York.
“Looking back,” she says, “what stands out are the many wonderful opportunities that a little kid from a little village in upstate New York was given. God’s hand has really been in my life.”