Sister Maureen James Barr, a beloved Sister of Saint Joseph for forty-six years, entered eternal life on April 10, 2019 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania. Her Funeral Mass was celebrated on April 15 at Saint Joseph Villa. Sister had requested to be cremated and the Ritual of Christian Burial was celebrated for her on April 26 at the Villa.
The third of eight children born to Elizabeth and James Barr and baptized Mary Elizabeth, Sister Maureen grew up in Saint Jerome Parish where she attended elementary school and Archbishop Ryan High School. She entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1973 and received her Bachelor and Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College. Most of her years in ministry were dedicated to primary education. She served in the Dioceses of Harrisburg and Wilmington and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where she taught for thirty years at Saint Philip School in Lafayette Hill.
Maureen will be remembered for her loving and gentle way of making connections. She connected with students, with parents, with families-both her own and those of her students. She lived the Constitutions of the Sister of Saint Joseph by being “an apostle marked by docility to the spirit, humility and zeal, expressed in a spirit of gentleness, joy and peace.” Maureen’s openness to God’s spirit touched many people, including her nephew Patrick who wrote an essay many years ago on the motto “Enter to learn, live to serve.” He cited his Aunt Mary as a person who exemplified the motto: She sets a great example. . . She likes to help people and brings a warm atmosphere wherever she goes. . .
Maureen was faithful and faith-filled. She was known for her cleaning and for doing behind-the-scenes thoughtful things for others. Her attention to the needs of others expressed the person she was. Despite the physical challenges she experienced and which she faced with courage, she continued to be a caring person who made choices based on her needs, but always with consideration for others. She knew the pain of loss and did not want to bring pain to others, especially her mother and those whom she loved.
We have been blessed by knowing God’s gentleness, joy and peace through the life of Sister Maureen James. We miss her, but we know she enjoys eternal life with our loving God.