Barbara’s greatest boast is that she is the daughter of a small town, neighborhood barkeeper. She lived above the bar and helped in a tiny kitchen preparing fish fries, chicken dinners, hamburgers and steak-burgers. It is there that she learned about the care of community from parents who outwardly swam in the river of Dionysian Mysteries and inwardly walked on the waters of deep faith. The Sisters of St. Francis built upon their “earthy” spirituality.
Her Franciscan community developed the discipline needed for a life of contemplation in the midst of 50 years in active service. She taught in elementary and Junior High, educated the laity in the post Vatican II Church, worked among people in the inner city and the Native American communities, and was chaplain in hospital and hospice settings. All these eventually led her to study Clare, considered by some scholars to be co-foundress of the Franciscan way of life.
St. Clare, as she is named in Catholic circles, models Greek mythology wedded to the experience and leadership style of the 21st Century woman. She bespeaks the meaning of Catholic—’from among the people’. She walks among us and needs only to be recognized. This study may help in the endeavor.