Sister Barbara Marie Stritt
“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased … .” (Isaiah 42:1)
“I believe that these words aptly apply to Sister Barbara Marie. She responded to the call of baptism and to that of consecrated life. She let God’s spirit rest upon her and work within her,” said Sister Marie Kevin Tighe in her commentary for Sister Barbara Marie Stritt, who died March 18.
Sister Marie Kevin began her commentary by sharing a brief autobiography that Sister Barbara Marie had written. Some excerpts follow:
“Born on Feb. 15, 1917, in Indianapolis, I arrived just a day too late to be my dad’s Valentine or my mother’s birthday gift. I was their first child of five girls,” wrote Sister Barbara Marie, whose parents were Carl and Pearl Yeazell Stritt.
Educated at St. Anthony and St. Joan of Arc elementary schools in Indianapolis, Christine Josephine Stritt attended St. John Academy and graduated from Providence Juniorate, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
“At St. John Academy, I had planned to prepare for a career in the business world. Never once had I ever thought of becoming a religious sister. But through an admirable and self-effacing sister, God’s call came to me. I weighed the sacrifice of family and self and accepted the call,” she wrote.
Sister Barbara Marie entered the Congregation July 21, 1935, professing first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1938, and Aug. 15, 1943, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.
Sister Barbara Marie’s first classroom was at St. Mel, Chicago, in 1938. In Chicago, she also taught at St. Andrew. Her Indiana assignments included St. Catherine, St. Andrew, St. Philip Neri and St. Joan of Arc, Indianapolis; St. John the Baptist, Newburgh; Our Lady of the Greenwood, Greenwood; St. Mary Cathedral, Lafayette; and Sacred Heart, Whiting. Sister Barbara Marie also spent six years at Blessed Sacrament, Burlington, N.C. From 1987 to 1996, she ministered as a librarian at St. Simon, Indianapolis. She returned to the Woods in 1997.
“Such is Sister Barbara Marie’s simple, humble and unembellished description of her 88 years of devoted Christian life,” said Sister Marie Kevin. “She was, as we say, ‘a true community woman.’ She enjoyed a hearty laugh, and she provided not a few.
“While one often found her in chapel, she was also on hand for the Colts’ football games. One of the thrills of her life was that of having been taken to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology during the Colts’ training season.
“On her more domestic side, she liked to sew and crochet and was generous to those of us less talented in those areas. Late in life, she discovered some artistic talent, and we have heard that her sisters treasure her paintings. These lighter details of her life reveal what Saint Paul speaks about in his letter to the Galatians. He says, ‘What the Spirit brings is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness … ,’” continued Sister Marie Kevin.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Barbara Marie was celebrated March 22 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by three sisters, Clara Logan, Mary Stritt and Helen Stritt, all of Indianapolis.
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