Obituary

 

Sister M. Adrian Barrett, IHM

Sister M. Adrian Barrett, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, October 12, 2015, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on February 14, 1929, in Scranton, PA, and given the name Dorothy. She was the daughter of the late Paul and Mildred Padden Barrett. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1946, and made her temporary profession of vows on May 9, 1949, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1952.

Sister Adrian served as a teacher in the following schools: Immaculate Conception Elementary School in West Pittston, PA, from 1949 to 1958; St. Rose Elementary School in Carbondale, PA, from 1958 to 1960; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, from 1960 to 1961; Archbishop Neale High School in La Plata, MD, from 1961 to 1964; Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, PA, from 1964 to 1965; St. Joseph High School in Williamsport, PA, from 1965 to 1968; and St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1968 to 1976. She then served at Scranton United Neighborhood Center, in Scranton, PA, from 1976 to 1986.

 In 1986 Sister Adrian founded the non-profit charitable organization Friends of the Poor, a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The mission of Friends of the Poor is to ease the burden of living in poverty and enhance the quality of life for all who live in low-to-moderate-income communities. The ministry brings together in friendship those who have the desire to give with those who are in need of assistance.

Sister Adrian was the subject of a PBS Documentary: Sister Adrian Barrett – Mother Teresa of Scranton. The film received three national awards. Governor Robert P. Casey appointed her to the PA Commission on Aging. She was the Chairperson for the Justice and Peace Commission, Diocesan Synod II and the first woman to be the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In addition Sister Adrian was the recipient of numerous awards including, the “Christopher Spirit” Award, the Governor Robert P. Casey Medal for a Lifetime of Service, the Americanism Award from B’nai B’rith, and the Distinguished Honor Award from Scranton’s Martin Luther King Commission.

From 2009 until the time of her death, Sister Adrian served as a prayer minister at her family home in Dunmore and at Our Lady of Peace Residence.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history/English from Marywood College, and a Master of Arts degree in Afro-American history from St. John University. She also received Honorary Doctorates from Marywood University and the University of Scranton.

She is preceded in death by three brothers, Jerome, Attorney Paul, and Gerard.

She is survived by a sister, Marie of Dunmore, PA; a sister-in-law, Katherine Barrett of Scranton, PA; a sister-in-law Barbara Barrett of Dunmore, PA; nieces and nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews; and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Thursday, October 15, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at St. Paul’s Church, 1510 Penn Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton on Wednesday, October 14, between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Thursday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of the Poor, c/o 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509 or to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.


Reflections given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Adrian Barrett, IHM, Wake 10/14/15

Good afternoon, Sisters and Friends, and a very special welcome to Adrian’s family and friends.

          “I’m always worried that I’m not worthy to serve the poor. And I know that, but for the grace of God, I couldn’t do it. So I think it’s a constant gift I’ve got to pray to be worthy of.” (Quote by Sr. Adrian in America magazine, Nov. 23, 1985; from her documentary, “Sister Adrian, the Mother Teresa of Scranton”).

That quote by Sister Adrian in the 1985 documentary about her life speaks to the heart of who this special individual was and why so many of us are gathered here today. Our images of Adrian are many and varied, I’m sure, and taken together, would probably form a composite of her life from her early days to the present. But the common thread in all, I have no doubt, would be the wide smile, the bow tie, the loafers or sneakers, depending, a microphone in hand, and surrounded by her ‘constituents’, as she called them, the children and the most vulnerable in our society. It struck me that those images, except for maybe the bow tie and sneakers, were very much the same images that had us glued to our TVs recently as we witnessed Pope Francis mingle with the very same constituency during his U.S. visit. Like Pope Francis, Adrian understood, far more than most of us, that God’s call to love one another is a call, not an option, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, and walk with the marginalized.

Wherever she went, whether to the corridors of Congress or the side streets of Scranton’s neighborhoods, Adrian carried within her a deep mindfulness of that mission of selfless service for others. In witnessing that throughout her life, she taught us about the inherent dignity and value of every single person. Her lesson plans were not lengthy lectures or thick textbooks, but rather her simple, yet profound example of deep respect and love for all. There were no conditions on Adrian’s love, no (well, maybe just a few!) grudges held. I always marveled at her ability to greet an individual who had just said or written something uncomplimentary to or about her with the same open smile and outstretched hand as if he or she was her best friend. That was vintage Adrian, but it was real and honest, and witnessed again to her profound faith in God’s goodness in all. That integrity is what others saw in her and what drew us to her and her ministry. It is safe to say that throughout her eighty-six years of life in perpetual motion on behalf of others, Adrian left an indelible imprint of love, courage, service, and compassion on the lives of thousands whom she touched, and our lives are far better and more meaningful for having known her.

We give abundant thanks to God for the gift of Adrian’s life among us and celebrate the beginning of her eternal life in heaven. I have no doubt that God and all of heaven have had their tempo of living stepped up quite a bit since Adrian arrived. I’m not sure what TV channel God preferred before, but I’m positive that MSNBC is the default channel for daily, if not hourly, news updates now, and there are plenty of editorial comments given during and after each newscast, and can you imagine those meal time discussions! Heavenly silence is a thing of the past, I think. I also heard that there was an emergency request for a special delivery of voter registration cards to the celestial post office. It seems Adrian was out canvassing and found some non-registered voters in heaven, believe it or not.

So we remember today very specially Adrian’s parents, Mildred and Paul, and her three brothers, Jerome, Paul, and Gerard, with whom she is enjoying a true Irish celebration today in heaven. We pray very specially for her sister, Marie; her sisters-in-law, Kay and Barbara; her nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and great grandnieces and great grandnephews; her many other relatives and friends, especially the IHM sisters and her Friends of the Poor family; her band members and mission group; and all who knew and loved her.

And so, let us continue our prayer now in deep gratitude for the life of Adrian . . .


Sister Adrian Barrett, IHM Funeral Mass 10/15/15

Good morning. As we gather this morning to celebrate the life of Sister Adrian, I want to welcome very specially her sister, Marie, and all her family members who are able to be with us today, her IHM sisters, and her Friends of the Poor family, and all her many friends whose lives she touched.  

I would first like to offer some words of thanks on behalf of Adrian’s family and her IHM family:

I especially want to thank Bishop Bambera and Bishop Timlin, both friends of Adrian and long-time supporters of her many efforts on behalf of those in need, for their presence here with us. Special thanks to another long-time friend of Adrian’s, Monsignor Quinn, for being here today and for his help with the planning of this liturgy. I also want to express our thanks for the presence of so many priests, several of whom helped Adrian as seminarians at Camp St. Andrew. That was an experience most of them have never forgotten.

I want to thank Monsignor Van Loon, who could not be here with us today, but who graciously offered this site for Adrian’s funeral, and the efforts of the entire parish staff to accommodate whatever we needed with much graciousness and generosity. We are so grateful. Thank you, too, to Linda Orseck, our music director, and this wonderful group of talented musicians.

My deepest thanks to everyone who helped with all the preparations for Adrian’s wake and funeral liturgy, from all the planning to creating the ceremony booklets to preparing the food: to everyone, a huge thank you.

I would like to thank to Srs. Jean, Eleanor Mary, and Mary Kay, the administrators at Our Lady of Peace Residence, and the entire OLP staff for their care and support of Adrian and her family. We are also so very grateful to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart staff members for their loving attention to Adrian.

Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank specially Adrian’s family, whom she loved deeply and relied upon, and who were a constant support to her, and Sisters Maryalice Jacquinot and Ann Walsh, who inherited the leadership of Friends of the Poor from Adrian, (some pretty large sneakers to fill!) and also all the wonderful volunteers there, who have continued the legacy of service begun by Adrian. The IHM commitment to those most vulnerable in our society is alive and well in their efforts and the help of so many in this community.

          “The true impact of a life well lived is shown in the lives touched along our journey. By that standard, Sister Adrian Barrett had an extraordinary life.”

That quote speaks to the heart of who this special individual was and why so many of us are gathered here today.

Wherever she went, whether to the corridors of Congress or the side streets of Scranton’s neighborhoods, Adrian carried within her a deep mindfulness of a mission of selfless service for others. In witnessing that throughout her life, she taught us about the inherent dignity and value of every single person. As I noted yesterday, Adrian’s lesson plans for how to live were not lengthy lectures or well-written textbooks, but rather her simple yet profound example of deep respect and love for all, rooted in her belief in the inherent presence of God’s goodness in each person. Like Pope Francis, Adrian understood, far more than most of us, that God’s call to love one another is a call, not an option, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, and walk with the marginalized.

Throughout her eighty-six years of life in perpetual motion on behalf of others, Adrian left an indelible imprint of love, courage, service, and compassion on the lives of thousands whom she touched, and our lives are far better and more meaningful for having known her. I think it is safe to say that God and all of heaven have had their tempo of living stepped up quite a bit since she arrived!

And so today we give abundant thanks to God for the gift of Adrian’s life among us and celebrate the beginning of her eternal life in heaven. I now ask Marie to place the scriptures on Adrian’s casket, for Adrian heard the Word of God; indeed, she staked her life upon it, and received life to the full ... the Word now beckons her home.