Sister Barbara Miller, SC, in her 69th year of religious life
SISTER BARBARA MILLER, SC, age 88, was called by God to eternal life on August 29, 2023 at Caritas Christi, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg in the 69th year of religious life. She was born on March 7, 1935, in Cleveland, OH, where her family lived until Barbara was twelve years old. The Miller family then moved to Phoenix, AZ, due to her mother’s health concerns.
Sister Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Catherine (Dugas) Miller; two brothers, Larry and Joseph; and her sister, Margaret Francies. She is survived by her brother, Marty; her sister, Catherine Gobins; sister-in-law, Betty Ann Miller; nieces and nephews; and her religious community.
In high school, Sister Barbara excelled in two sports, softball and swimming, which instilled characteristics of dedication, confidence and success. She won several medals in swimming as an Olympic competitor. Although she considered swimming a career, she followed early childhood desires to enter religious life. Sister Barbara entered the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill on April 9, 1954, from Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Phoenix, AZ.
Sister earned a bachelor’s degree in education, English, from Seton Hill University, a master’s degree in history from the University of Arizona, and a master’s and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Notre Dame. Her main concentration was in History and Spanish. Her extensive education prepared her to be a teacher at all levels, from middle school to college classes. For thirty years, Sister Barbara taught middle school students in the Greensburg, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Tucson dioceses, high school students in Pittsburgh and Tucson, and at Seton Hill University. She served in a variety of ministries including Formation Director for the Sisters of Charity, adult addiction counselor, and pastoral ministry. She said counseling was often about “hearing the cry, listening to the emptiness, helping to heal the pain—all part of a day’s work—responding to the needs of the people of God.”
Sister Barbara’s dissertation was on the role of women in the Mexican Cristero Rebellion; an unexplored chapter about the Catholic uprising against the anti-clerical revolutionary government of Mexico. Historians have essentially ignored this historical event. It is now available online and has been included in three books. In order to obtain accurate information, Sister Barbara lived in Mexico and Texas to interview individuals who lived during the rebellion. Knowing how to speak and understand the Spanish language was fundamental to learning facts about the church and society in Latin America. As a result of this experience, Sister Barbara developed a great respect and love for the Latino culture and taught English as a second language when she returned to Pittsburgh.
Sister Barbara said, “My vocation to religious life has been a great gift to me. I have had the opportunity to grow in my love for God and to be of service to God’s people. I have loved my work as a teacher, an addiction counselor, a vocation director, and a pastoral associate. Without the support of my community, this would not have been possible.”
Sister Barbara, we rejoice with you as you enter the fullness of eternal life with Elizabeth Seton, the Company of Charity, and your loved ones. Be at peace.
The funeral liturgy will be live-streamed; access through the link: https://venue.streamspot.com/2af9e1eb