Joy filled the air on April 29, 2017 as family, sisters, friends and colleagues gathered in the Emmanuel College Chapel in Boston as Sister Bárbara Gutiérrez professed her perpetual vows as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. The journey that led Sister Bárbara to Notre Dame began in Mexico City where Bárbara was born and raised along with her sister and four brothers. “We grew up in the city. It was not a wealthy area, but we were rich in all the ways that matter. Our parents encouraged us to pursue our dreams and above all taught us that love does not hold but let go. As young children my siblings and I set up an imaginary boat in our back yard as a center of our play activities. Later we would hike in the country and explore the beauties of nature. Learning about our Catholic faith and participating in the liturgy was part of our childhood experience.”
After graduating from high school, Bárbara traveled from Mexico City to the west coast of Mexico where she studied marine biology. After graduation, Bárbara returned to Mexico City and worked as a consultant for an international business-consulting firm, before working for other companies as a Human Resources professional in Texas, Georgia, and Boston. “I loved my work,” Bárbara said,” but I felt that there was something more to life. I began thinking about religious life and entered into a period of discernment while I was still working in business. By being open to the Spirit, things fell into place and I began my journey with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 2006.” It was a challenge to enter so far from my family in Mexico, but I had moved far away from home for my college years and then as I traveled for my career. My family was surprised but they supported me. I am grateful to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for their support in helping me visit and be with my family especially when my parents were sick.”
After the Affiliation period, Sister Bárbara traveled to Cincinnati for her novitiate and then to Apopka, Florida to participate in the ministry at Hope CommUnity Center. Returning to Massachusetts, she became the Director of Admissions for Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Lawrence before becoming a full time student at Boston College, earning a graduate degree in theology. During this time, Sister Bárbara worked part-time in the Office of Mission and Ministry at Emmanuel College.
This past May, Sister Bárbara began a new ministry as Director of Enrollment Management and Development for the Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Boston. “I am excited about this new ministry,” she said. “Hispanics are 46% of the practicing Catholic population in the United States and yet they are not represented in those numbers in Catholic Schools. A solid education and an exposure to the depth of our faith are critical to individual achievement as well as to the well being and growth of the Church.”
Sister Bárbara echoed the remarks she made at her profession saying, “I am grateful to God for my call to religious life. It is a blessing and joy. I am grateful to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, my family, friends and new and former colleagues for their support and encouragement. I look forward to the future with joy and hope.”