Sister Cecilia Barry
My days are filled with thanksgiving.
The first 10 years of my life were lived in the small, Irish farm community of Colgan, Ontario. My home, where I lived with my parents, five brothers and two sisters as well as my aunt and grandfather, was a place filled with love, music, faith and laughter.
When I was six, bovine TB became a big part of my life and stayed with me until I was nineteen. My routine included three months of bed rest every second winter. My time in bed gave me a love of prayer and reflection and the example of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, introduced to me by my mother, started me thinking about being a missionary.
The Big Challenge
With medication for TB soon available, I chose to go to the sanatorium. Being there strengthened my call. A walking patient, I was able to visit many lonely people. Four of us were on sun treatment on the roof. I used to say my rosary and some of my companions asked me to teach them to pray. Thus began the first sun-treatment prayer group!
Steps along the Journey
After being refused by two missionary congregations because of my lack of education, I applied to the Sisters of St. Joseph where three of my aunts were members. My priest uncle had suggested I try a community that had a variety of works. The Sisters of St. Joseph were my first choice. After waiting a year, I was accepted.
My days are filled with thanksgiving. God gave me a great desire to serve the sick and poor. I was blessed to earn an RN, which has helped me as I worked with the sick in hospitals and walking with the poor in parish ministry. Now, in my older years, as a member of our In Good Company ministry I visit shut-ins as our first Sisters did in France.