I started my SNDdeN ministerial life as a teacher of the middle grades. Students at those ages are creative and engaging, so classroom activities were full of plays, contests and lots of fun. After twelve years of teaching in schools from New York to Georgia, I went to Brazil and learned to be a Popular Educator, an educator with the people in rural villages and urban settlements. This part of my life was a rich nineteen years as I learned with the people how to read reality, the most important textbook of all. With SNDdeN companions, we acquired the skills of the learner-teacher and how to reflect and act respecting the autonomy of the group with whom we worked. This work included pastoral accompaniment of communities and helping them organize Unions and Cooperatives. And yes, celebrating life with them!
The next phase of my ministry was in Baltimore, Maryland where I directed a small multi-purpose community center. My twenty-eight-year splendid stint at the Julie Community Center called on all that I had learned up to that point. It was a mix of organizing for change with the community, collaborating with other groups and amazing volunteers to set up needed youth, social service and educational programs, and sponsoring cultural events. Best of all, each day included playing with youth in after school hours.
Through these years in ministry with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, I have been blessed to serve in underserved communities. It has been a lifelong experience of working with others to choose life in abundance for all.
Now I am retired and happily working on a part time basis as a communicator with my Province and with National Communications, helping to communicate the Notre Dame mission and engage with internal and external audiences.
Sister Barbara English, SNDdeN