In Memoriam: Sister Barbara Gonzales, OSB

imgonzalesbBenedictine Sister Barbara (Mary Teresita) May Gonzales, 66, of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID, died of a heart attack, Tuesday, January 18, 2005. She had been with her family after the death of her sister, Toni Pierce, in Gooding, ID, when she was life-flighted to Boise. She died en route.

Sr. Barbara was born May 1, 1938, to Jose and Duby Velasquez Gonzales in Burly, ID. She entered the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 1955 and made her temporary Profession as Sr. Mary Teresita in 1957. She taught school at St. Joseph’s in Cottonwood; St. Anthony’s in Pocatello; St. Mary’s in Boise and Sts. Peter and Paul in Grangeville.

In 1961 when it was time for her to make final Profession, Sr. Barbara felt led to leave community. During her years away she volunteered with St.Gertrude’s sisters in Bogota, Colombia, taught in parochial schools and Head Start, and worked as a legal secretary in Gooding, ID.

In 1983, Sr. Barbara re-entered the monastery and made final Profession in 1983. Her love and calling was to Hispanic Ministry: at Boise State University; for Idaho Migrant Council in Gooding; as English As Second Language (ESL) teacher at Gooding Junior and Senior High Schools; in the parishes in Gooding, Caldwell and Meridian, ID; and at Idaho Legal Aid Services in Twin Falls, where she was employed at the time of her death.

She will be long remembered for her deep faith, zest for life and energetic response to justice needs.

Sr. Barbara was preceded in death by her sister, Toni Pierce. She is survived by her monastic community and her sisters, Stella and Jim Murray of Gooding, Fran Hernandez of Twin Falls, Georgia and Eldon Wright and Rita and Fred Boger of Boise, and Josie Roberts of Hood River, OR; her brothers, Joe Gonzales, Jr. and Lou and Loral Gonzales of Gooding, ID, and many nieces and nephews.

A Vigil service was held Friday, January 21, 7:00 pm in the Chapel at the monastery. The Mass of Christian Burial was on Saturday, January 22, 1:00 pm with Fr. Meinrad Schallberger, Monastery Chaplain, officiating and Prioress Jean Lalande giving the reflection.