Sister Barbara Murtha, CSJ

Barbara’s long religious life of 65 years was spent in a variety of ministries – she was a teacher and administrator, she was involved in parish work and community service, and she had a special love for the elderly and for the bereaved.  Nothing she did was just a job; everything came from her heart.

I asked some of Babs’ sisters what were some words they would associate with her.  Here are a few responses which gives us a spirit-filled collage:

  • Celebrating – she always wanted to celebrate – she loved eating out – she always sent everybody greeting cards to celebrate each person
  • Family – she loved each and every member in a special way; get togethers really mattered to her
  • Control – she wanted to control things, and they respected it! This was true for her final months and the way she died.
  • Integrity and compassion – she still heard from people whose lives she had affected
  • Quiet awe for nature – special love for the Southwest – love for the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens in all seasons
  • Celtic spirituality which grounded her.

For all these reasons and more, Bab’s sisters chose the readings for her mass.  Indeed, she is a valiant woman!  She is an expression of Love!  And she loved parables, determination and celebrations!

So, as we gratefully celebrate Barbara’s life, we now look forward to listening to Sister Cathy Murtha who will share from both a personal and vocational perspective.
Phyllis Esposito. CSJ

As I have been making this journey with Barbara and family and various community members these past few weeks, I have been pondering the Circle of Life.

Each of us enters life at a given moment, in a unique environment, to parents and perhaps siblings or extended families. We begin to define ourselves, claim our gifts, discover the world around us and make our way in the world.

I am beginning to see the journey in our vowed lives as religious women in a similar way.  Each phase of life from those first beginnings tinged with hope,  uncertainty, openness, perhaps a bit of fear, opens us to new awareness.As we move through our time of formation and adapting to community life, education, we develop skills and relationships  to be of service to others. We make decisions about taking vows, and areas of service. We become more at home and learn to shift our consciousness from being “I” consciousness” to “WE” consciousness.

Over time and with the support of trainers and directors we become more open to encounter the power and presence of God in our lives. Hopefully, there comes a moment when each of us can acknowledge God’s transforming  action in our lives.  Jubilees, graduations, changes in Leadership are such times – as are  funerals and times of chapters.

We in our time have certainly negotiated such moments.  We, who live in an epoch time of change and upheaval, have received both the challenge and the grace to be faithful and courageous.

And this day, we offer heartfelt thanks to our Sister Barbara for her living and loving witness.

Thank you – and may the God who has begun the good work in you bring it to completion.   AMEN
Sister Cathy Murtha,DW

Sister Barbara Murtha, CSJ the former Sister Edward Miriam, died on June 7, 2023 in the 65th year of her religious life.

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