Thursday, December 15, 2022
Mass of the Resurrection, 10:30 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
Visitors are welcome; please adhere to mask and social distance guidelines while in the church.
You may view the livestreamed Mass on YouTube.
Read the memories shared at Sister Barbara's funeral.
Sister Barbara Marie, CSC
(Barbara Louise Kleck)
October 20, 1927–December 3, 2022
We share news of the death of Sister Barbara Marie (Kleck), CSC, who died at 2:05 p.m. on December 3, 2022, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Barbara Marie entered the Congregation from Washington, D.C., on January 24, 1948. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1950.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
One of Sister Barbara Marie Kleck’s favorite quotes was from the American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, “If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” This positive outlook on life led Sister Barbara Marie to ministries that allowed her to help people directly, such as teaching children to read and providing emotional support to hospice patients. She had a special aptitude for assuring others that they would overcome their difficulties and find peace. Sister Barbara Marie herself found peace when she died the afternoon of December 3, 2022, in Saint Mary’s Convent. While unable to recover from a recent stroke, she was aware of the care and love of the sisters and convent staff who kept vigil with her.
Barbara Louise Kleck was born on October 20, 1927, in New York City, New York. She was the only child of James Romero and Emma Kleck, a German immigrant who came to the United States in 1925. Barbara and her mother moved to Maryland upon the death of her father when she was still a child. She was described as a “true Holy Cross girl,” as she was taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross at The Academy of the Holy Cross, Washington, D.C., from the second grade until graduating in 1947. Barbara loved her Holy Cross teachers’ joyful and virtuous natures. However, she put off entering the Congregation and decided to work as a secretary following her graduation. “Everyone thought I would be a nun,” she once said, “but I thought no one should go from 12 years of sisters right into the convent.” After working for less than a year, she entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, on January 24, 1948. Upon reception of the holy habit, she began her religious life as Sister Barbara Marie.
During Sister Barbara Marie’s first 13 years in Holy Cross, she was an elementary school teacher. Sister taught first through eighth grades at parochial schools in Washington, D.C., Texas and Maryland. While teaching seventh and eighth grade at St. Matthew School in Washington, D.C., she was also the principal from 1961 to 1963. She earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Dunbarton College of Holy Cross, Washington, D.C., in 1962. Not once did she ever grow tired of the thrill she felt whenever her first-grade students began to read for the first time.
Sister Barbara Marie continued her education ministry into the 1960s, but in an administrative setting. From 1963 to 1969, she was the director of non-academic services and purchasing agent at her alma mater, Dunbarton College of Holy Cross. She supervised non-academic areas such as the college grounds, maintenance, housekeeping and food services. She was also the director of student aid at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, from 1971 to 1974.
Upon Sister Barbara Marie’s graduation in 1975 from Fordham University, New York City, with a master's degree in guidance and counseling, her ministry transitioned to pastoral care. For more than 30 years, she provided emotional and spiritual support to hospice patients at Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Maryland, and coordinated pastoral care at Montgomery Hospice, Chevy Chase, Maryland, for four years. From 1999 to 2016, she ministered to patients in the ambulatory pre-op surgery department at Holy Cross Hospital. Patients and staff were deeply appreciative of Sister Barbara Marie’s ability to be a versatile and compassionate counselor. Her empathy for terminally ill patients and their families will never be forgotten.
Since 2016, Sister Barbara Marie had been living at the motherhouse at Saint Mary’s. In addition to her ministry of prayer, she volunteered with the stamp ministry. Sales of canceled stamps to collectors help fund the Congregation’s Ministry With the Poor. One could find her in the convent library perusing the daily newspaper and staying informed. Sister kept her mind sharp by solving crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble and reading mystery novels. It seems strange to see her missing from her favorite seat at daily Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. Yet, her religious community knows she joins them still at the table of the Lord, experiencing the fullness of risen life.
The winter afternoon that Sister Barbara Marie died at 95 years old, outdoors it was crisp, clear and bright. Not all her 72 years as a vowed woman religious were sunny, nevertheless, she was faithful and constant. The next time dark clouds gather, remember Sister’s sense of joyful hope. After a storm, look for the rainbow that she experienced as the sign of God’s enduring love for the Earth and her people.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
—Written by Madisen Toth, archivist
Sisters of the Holy Cross, Congregational Archives and Records