Home » Obituaries » Remembrance of the Life of Barbara Ann Shultz SL

Remembrance of the Life of Barbara Ann Shultz SL

Posted on December 7, 2015, by Loretto Community


Barbara Ann Shultz SL
Barbara Ann Shultz SL
Dec. 19, 1920-Dec. 7, 2015

Sister Barbara Ann Shultz began life as Sara Barbara, the youngest of four children of Cleveland and Helen Colmer Shultz. She grew to adulthood in central Illinois, in Olney, the hometown of both her parents. In 1934, when Sara Barbara was an eighth grader at St. Joseph Parochial School, her only sister, Anna Mae, died of tuberculosis. The following year, Sara Barbara joined the aspirancy of the Precious Blood Sisters at Ruma, Ill. After two years, she transferred to Notre Dame Academy, Belleville, Ill., earning her high school diploma there in 1938.

Sara Barbara enrolled at Le Clerc College in Belleville, attended for two years and then transferred to Webster College in Webster Groves, Mo. Perhaps she was attracted by Webster’s excellent music department, for she continued the choral and piano studies she had begun at Le Clerc, graduating from Webster in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and a minor in piano.

Even before Barbara graduated from Webster she had asked to enter the Loretto Novitiate. In one of several letters she exchanged with Reverend Mother Edwarda Ashe, she wrote: “For eight years now I have been trying to decide what to do, and now that I have decided, I don’t ever expect to change my mind. There is only one regret: I wish it could have been sooner.” In the same letter, Barbara asked advice about disposing of her savings: “Since Webster has meant so much to me, I was wondering what you think of my leaving a donation for Loretto Hall.” Barbara also asked for and received permission to bring with her to the Novitiate her movie camera and projector!

Sara Barbara entered Loretto Oct. 24, 1942; she received the habit and the name Sister Barbara Ann on April 25, 1943, which happened to be Easter, and made her final vows Aug. 15, 1948. Of Barbara’s 12 original classmates, seven remained “strong and ALIVE” to celebrate their 50th and then their 60th anniversaries: Sisters Mary Denis Bruck, Mary Ken Lewis, Ann Francis Gleason, Louise Gourdeau, Paul Mary Grennan, Rose Henry Higdon and Barbara Ann herself. Besides the distinction of being received on Easter, the group was the first to experience “Renovation,” under the guidance of Mother Edwarda at St. Mary’s in Denver in 1958.

Like most young professed, Sister Barbara Ann went immediately from vow day to the classroom, filling in at Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, and helping in the music department at Loretto Academy in Kansas City, Mo., then to Denver for a year at St. Philomena’s. As a college graduate, she also went directly to graduate school in the summers. She studied at Chicago Musical College for a master’s degree in music, which she completed in 1951 with a thesis titled “The Roads Leading to the Restoration of Gregorian Chant.”

For 30 years Barbara Ann’s work was all music: four years at Immaculate Conception, Highland Park, Ill.; two at Immaculate Conception, East Las Vegas, N.M.; and back to Sterling for four years at St. Mary’s, four at Newman High, and six more at St. Mary’s, where she was also superior. Almost every summer Barbara Ann taught on the music faculty at Webster College and, later, at DePaul University and Loretto Heights.

In 1966, Barbara Ann was sent to Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas, to teach music and choral in the high school. Her autobiography notes a shift in the 1970s: “After being in music for years, I studied and got a degree in math [and] began to teach in the grade school at Loretto Academy. I moved into high school teaching at the encouragement of Mary Lee Murphy, where we both taught for many years before moving to the Motherhouse in 1984.”

The records show Barbara Ann’s occupation at the Motherhouse in 1984 as “Gardener and Driver.” Those who lived at the Motherhouse from the mid-80s to the early 2000s will recall Barbara Ann’s several flower gardens and her wonderfully productive vegetable garden. She talked to P.J. Manion for an Interchange article, saying she began gardening in El Paso when Sister Leonarda turned over a sandy hillside to her. P.J. wrote, “Not a lifetime gardener, Loretto’s flutist and former music teacher ‘just does it.’ As Barbara Ann rattled off names like ‘rye and hairy vetch,’ she talked about reading up on these ground covers that act as a fertilizer. … Behind the infirmary Barbara has an herb garden, the first project she started when she came to the Motherhouse in ’84. Anyone who wants to dress up a salad is welcome to take scissors to the hardy chives, sage, mint and elephant garlic.”

Barbara Ann also brought her musical talents to the Motherhouse, playing the flute at Mass and in the famous Motherhouse Band. With Mary Lee, she was one of the early residents of the apartments in the newly renovated Laundry Building. From 1986 until Mary Lee retired as Postmistress, Barbara Ann was her nearly daily courier, taking postal revenues to the local bank.

Barbara Ann’s declining health dictated a move to the Motherhouse Infirmary in 2005. Alongside her faithful friend, Mary Lee, Barbara continued to participate at meals and gatherings for several more years. She let go gradually, quietly and gently, as she had lived. She died in the 63rd year of her Loretto commitment, just days before her 96th birthday. Barbara Ann faithfully held to the aspiration she wrote in her application to Loretto, “to give my heart to God because I feel that is what I am supposed to do.”

— By Eleanor Craig SL


Loretto Community

We are Sisters and Co-members who strive to bring the healing spirit of God into our world.

Donate in their honor

Your support makes all the difference.

Archives Request

Searching for someone or something specific?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.