Barbara entered Notre Dame Novitiate at Saratoga after graduating from Notre Dame High School, Belmont. She had visited the novitiate with her classmates during her junior year and, as she says, “I immediately felt this was God’s call. Each step toward entrance, I had the same feeling – and I still do. I’ve been so blessed. I never dreamed as a young nun that I could do the things I’m doing.”
For 21 years, Sister Barbara Geib served in Notre Dame ministries in elementary schools and parishes from Santa Clara to Los Angeles, and Honolulu to Seattle. In 1976, just as her one-year assignment as religious education coordinator at St. Mark’s, Seattle, was ending, she heard that St. Mary of the Valley, a small rural parish in Monroe, Washington, needed a parish Sister. There, Sister had responsibility for RCIA, baptismal and funeral preparation, home visits, and communion calls to homes and hospitals, but that wouldn’t begin to describe it–or her. Rev. Philip Bloom, pastor of St. Mary’s of the Valley, says, “We are so grateful for her presence here. She reaches out to people who have been hurt by past experiences in our church and talks with them in a very gentle way.
For her, church is people, all people. She reaches out to those who are broken by domestic violence or other family problems. In the many years she has been here, St. Mary’s has changed from a small, rural, Anglo parish to become a suburban parish, with a majority of its people Spanish speaking. She speaks enough to participate at the Spanish Mass and be loved by the people. She is a good example for others.”
Sr. Barbara’s is also a long-time chaplain and domestic violence advocate for the Monroe Police Department. There she works closely with Detective Sergeant Cindy Chessie whose listing of “Sister B’s” work ranges from staffing the lost child booth at the state fair, responding with officers to emergency calls, offering services and support to domestic violence victims, and accompanying officers on death notifications, a very tough job that nobody wants to do. No holiday, birthday, or arrival of a new baby in an officer’s family goes un-gifted. “Sister B supports officers and their families with whatever is needed,” says Chessie. “We are so thankful that she is part of our team.”