Sister Barbara Bader

BIRTH NAME:   Aurelia Marie Bader
RELIGIOUS NAME: Sister Mary Barbara
PARENTS:  Leo and Petronella Buecker Bader
HOMETOWN:  Born in Rhineland, Mo.; moved to Seward, Neb., at age 3 and later to the Grand Island area
BA in education, Marymount College, Salina; MS in English, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.; certification in psychology and retreat direction, Notre Dame and Kansas State University
1945-62  Taught primary grades in Chicago, Cawker City, Kan., and Damar, Kan.
1962-68   Opened new school and served as principal in Oakley, Kan.
1968-75   Principal in Manhattan, Kan.
1975-77   Religious education in Grand Island, Neb.
1977-85   Principal in Beloit, Kan.
1985-2004    Director of religious education for St. Mary’s Cathedral, Grand Island, Neb.; directed retreats each summer
2005-present    Retired to the Nazareth Motherhouse
1975    National Catholic Outstanding Educational Award

As you look back on your years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, what experience or event best captures what your religious life has meant to you (and why)?

My time in Grand Island was both a challenge and a great joy. I grew up near Grand Island, so the cathedral there — St. Mary’s — was always my love. When I was growing up, we  had a young people’s club and on special events we went to the cathedral.

I had expected to return to Beloit (Kan.) as principal (in 1985), but then Father Robert Foster called from Grand Island and asked me to go there. I had family in the area, so it was wonderful to be near them — but it was also a big job, with lots of responsibilities.

I was always blessed with a great love of people, and there I got to work with people of all ages. I used to go into classrooms and tell the children stories, and we had a wonderful program every year. Then there were First Communions — those were always such a beautiful big event! I also worked with the teachers, individually and in groups, and we had lots of laypeople who helped.

From when I first got there, we prayed for a new school — and we finally got one built. It took all of us working together.

There were 10 or 12 sisters serving in Grand Island when I went there, and I was the last one. But it had been a very bountiful time for me. I found it hard to leave.

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