Sister Estelle Barron, MFIC: November 22, 1919-September 14, 2017

Originally Appeared in : 9721-10/12/17

Sister Estelle Barron (Catherine Mary) was born November 22, 1919, in County Tipperary, Ireland, to Christopher and Margaret Barron. She had two brothers, Kevin and Paddy and four sisters, Evelyn, Betty, Pearl and Bernadette. 


On October 22, 1936, Sister entered the Missionary Franciscan Sisters one month shy of her 16th birthday, and traveled to Rome, Italy. She professed her vows in 1938 and was sent to Heliopolis, Egypt, to teach Primary Grades in Saint Clare School. Thus began her 24-year mission in Egypt teaching in schools in Saptieh, Alexandria and Fayoum. She often spoke of going to the Holy Land during those years and being so impressed with following the Via Dolorosa. 


After her years in Egypt, Sister was transferred to the opposite climate in Syracuse, New York, where she taught at Saint Charles School. She then traveled to the warmer missions in Augusta and Savannah, Georgia, where she taught for nine years. A brief stay in Saint Mary of the Eternal School, Philadelphia, made a lasting impression on some of her students and parishioners there. 


The South was calling Sister to return, and she taught at Saint Michael’s School, Tybee Island from 1974-80. A change in ministry was awaiting Sister Estelle when she was called to Wauchula, Florida, to minister in Saint Michael’s Catechetical Program for three years.


Poor health had plagued Sister for many years and she went to Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Tenafly, New Jersey, to work in Internal Ministry, helping out with household chores from 1983-86. 


Then the Lord summoned her to join two other sisters, Sister Margaret Mary Treacy and Sister Kathleen Egan, in a special Mission in Texarkana, Arkansas, that lasted from 1986 until 1994. All three sisters were involved in Pastoral Work and Catechetical Ministry. They led many Prayer Groups and were involved in the Life in the Spirit Movement in the Church. 


In 1994 Sister took a Sabbatical year in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and in 1995 moved back to the convent in Tenafly, NJ. She continued to minister in Parish work by helping with the RCIA and Bible Study at Saint Therese Church in Cresskill, New Jersey. Praying with and for others was a way of life for Sister Estelle. Her New Testament is tattered and falling apart. She would read the Scripture of the day and underline every word and phrase that had meaning for her. She would stop in the middle of the hall in Tenafly and place her hand on a sister’s shoulder and say a “small” prayer. Even her nieces and nephews recall that on home visits to Ireland, she had them kneel and pray the Rosary before going out to dances. 


On Thursday, September 14, 2017, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with many sisters coming in and out of her room, she was surrounded by prayer. This time, they prayed for Sister Estelle to have a peaceful journey home to her loving God. We will miss you and thank you for your love, example, faithfulness and joy.

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