By Maryellen Blumlein, SC
Abigail Nathan, a sophomore at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, conducted research and wrote her paper on Sister Barbara Ford for her course, “Catholicism and the History of the Sisters of Charity of New York.” Her paper is titled “The Motivated Murder of Sister Barbara Ford.” The following is an excerpt of Abbie’s work.
Sister Barbara was an educator, a nurse, a midwife, a spiritual counsellor, a missionary and a Sister of Charity of New York. She dedicated her life (as a missionary in Guatemala) to helping the indigenous farmers, women, children, and the elderly after Guatemala’s Civil War. She taught them the necessary skills to relieve their impoverishment, and to recover from their psychological wounds caused by the country’s long civil war.
While serving as Health Coordinator for the Diocese of Quiche, Sister Barbara Ford took part in recovering bodies that were disposed of in mass unmarked graves. She established mental health programs for those who survived the Guatemalan Civil War, to help them deal with the trauma, loss and pain they had endured from the country’s long, violent history. Sister also helped to begin and complete a project to provide water for the poor people in the small villages. This water project was difficult, but very successful. Her many efforts and kindnesses caused her to be beloved by the indigenous people.
On May 5, 2001, Sister Barbara Ford was shot numerous times in what was an apparent robbery attempt in Guatemala City. Despite the controversial topic in regard to whether or not Sister Barbara’s involvement with aid relief programs resulted in her assassination or it truly was a robbery attempt, she loved the Guatemalan people, and gave her life for them.…Her consistent devotion and sense of service are what makes her a modern-day saint and martyr.
Abigail presented her paper on Thursday, April 25, at the Humanities Undergraduate Symposium at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, which was well attended by students, faculty, and visitors.
Congratulations on your fine paper, Abigail, and thank you for reminding us all of Sister Barbara Ford’s life-giving and selfless love.
Thank you Abigail for the inspirational article on the life of Sr. Barbara Ford. Yes, Sr. Barbara is very much remembered for her dedication and profound love for the mostly Mayan Indigenous people.
We keep Bobbie’s memory alive here in Quiche through many prayer services, conferences to share with younger generations as well as her own of the of her total gift of herself to the people..
A wonderful and well deserved tribute! I was blessed to have known Bobbie.
I know that, for whatever reason she was murdered, she went straight home to God
We Daughters of Charity also benefited from the missionary zeal of Sister Bobbie Ford in Guatemala! I learned from her to depend on God’s energy more than our personal talents. I celebrate her life! Sister Julie Cutter
I second :Sr Julie’s remark. Sr. Barbara took special care of our salud mental while we were in Ixcan. She would make the trip to our campamento to see personally how we were doing. Thank you for this article.
Thanks for the tribute for Barbara.
Your tribute to Sister Barbara was beautiful. Sister was an amazing women who gave her life in service to the needy in Guatemala. may she rest in peace and may she always be remembered. in prayer in Guatemala and cherish all the blessed work she accomplished.