Meet Sister Barbara Hanagan

On her 70th Jubilee, Sr. Barbara (Raymond Teresa) Hanagan feels that her years as a Sister of Notre Dame have flown by!  Born in Winnepeg, Canada, Barbara’s family moved to Marysville where St. Joseph Church and Notre Dame School were the center of her early Catholic life.  She remembers helping the Sisters teach the younger children during summer school and thinking that she would like to be a teacher, too.

SR-Hanagan_Barbara_headshot3Most of her teaching career was spent in Notre Dame elementary schools in Chico and Alameda, then in high schools in Watsonville, San Jose, Belmont, Marysville, Salinas, and one of her favorite assignments, Hawaii, where she had the opportunity to teach on a faculty with many different religious orders.  Sr. Barbara, who is gentle, soft-spoken, attentive to others and very kind, also served as superior, principal, and, with “the grace of the charge,” the unlikely position of dean of discipline.  She especially enjoyed teaching religion and history, and was inspired by the enthusiasm, and idealism of the high school students she taught.

Community living in Notre Dame has been a special blessing for Sr. Barbara. She has felt the goodness, faithfulness and spirituality of her sisters as a gift in her life. When she served as director of boarders, as well as teaching, Sr. Teresa Augustine, wrote of her: “Sensitivity has made Sr. Barbara special and all of life special to her.  Her realization that the awesomeness of living is contained in seemingly inconsequential details enables her to be deeply and delicately aware of people, a vital quality for a director of boarders  and guidance director.”

On her jubilee, Sr. Barbara said that “the presence of God is the greatest blessing of my years as a Sister . . . in the ordinariness of life, in the small miracles . . . it is being present in quiet in the community of prayer.”

At the Province Center, where she lived for several years, she was happy to assist in the third grade at Immaculate Heart of Mary School and to take Communion to the sick at Belmont Vista. Now residing at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland, she continues to do what she has done all her life, reflect the goodness of God and find it in others.


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