Sr. Estelle Barron (Catherine Mary) was born November 22, 1919, in County Tipperary, Ireland, to Christopher and Margaret Barron. She had two brothers, Kevin and Paddy and four sisters, Evelyn, Betty, Pearl and Bernadette. On October 22, 1936, Sister entered the Missionary Franciscan Sisters one month shy of her 16th birthday, and traveled to Rome, Italy. She professed her vows in 1938 and was sent to Heliopolis, Egypt, to teach Primary Grades in St. Clare School. Thus began her 24 year mission in Egypt teaching in schools in Saptieh, Alexandria and Fayoum. She often spoke of going to the Holy Land during those years and being so impressed with following the Via Dolorosa. She had deeply fallen in love with the Lord. After her years in Egypt, Sister was transferred to the opposite climate in Syracuse, NY, where she taught at St. Charles School. She then traveled to our warmer missions in Augusta and Savannah, Georgia, where she taught for nine years. A brief stay in St. Mary of the Eternal School, Philadelphia, made a lasting impression on some of her students and parishioners there.
The South was calling Sister to return, and she taught at St. Michael's School, Savanah Beach, GA, from 1974-80. A change in ministry was awaiting Sr. Estelle when she was called to Wauchula, Florida, to minister in St. Michael's Catechetical Program for three years. Poor health had plagued Sister for many years and she went to Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Tenafly, NJ, to work in Internal Ministry, helping out with household chores from 1983-86.
Then the Lord summoned her to join two other sisters, Sr. Margaret Mary Treacy and Sr. Kathleen Egan, in a special Mission in Texarkana, AK, that lasted from 1986 until 1994. All three sisters were involved in Pastoral Work and Catechetical Ministry. They led many Prayer Groups and were involved in the Life in the Spirit Movement in the Church. In 1988 Sr. Estelle had a very serious medical emergency and was rushed to a hospital. The sisters and the parishioners of St. Edward Church began a three day prayer vigil with her. Her family had been called to inform them that Sister had only a five percent chance of survival. Then, on August 15, 1988, the feast of Our Lady's Assumption, Sr. Estelle regained consciousness.
She picked up a prayer book and read the words, "Live on in my love", John 15:9. She and the sisters and the people of St. Edward's believed that Sr. Estelle received a miracle, and as one priest stated, "She got a new heart." In 1994 Sister took a Sabbatical year in Gaithersburg, MD, and in 1995 moved back to our convent in Tenafly, NJ. She continued to minister in Parish work by helping with the RCIA and Bible Study at St. Therese Church in Cresskill, NJ. Praying with and for others was a way of life for Sr. Estelle. Her New Testament is tattered and falling apart. She would read the Scripture of the day and underline every word and phrase that had meaning for her. She would stop in the middle of the hall in Tenafly and place her hand on a sister's shoulder and say a "small" prayer. Even her nieces and nephews recall that on home visits to Ireland, she had them kneel and pray the Rosary before going out to dances.
On Thursday, September 14, 2017, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with many sisters coming in and out of her room, she was surrounded by prayer. This time, we prayed for Sr. Estelle to have a peaceful journey home to her loving God. After meeting all of her family, friends and Sisters in Community in Heaven, she heard again the words of the Lord, "Estelle, live on in my love." We will miss you and thank you for your love, example, faithfulness and joy. Your Tenafly Community There will be calling hours at the Convent on Monday, September 18th from 4-7 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 on Tuesday, September 19th in the Convent Chapel.