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Sister Barbara Netek

Sister Barbara NetekMy very first memory is standing in my baby bed, looking out the window at my family’s green farm lands and the cattle in the pasture. I am grateful for my 18 years on the farm, where my parents, 2 brothers, 2 sisters and I prayed together, worked together and played together. There I learned to be responsible, share in the family work and share in family prayer.

Like all farm families, we relied on our hard work and the weather for the bounty of the crops, the livestock and the family garden. When things didn’t look good, my parents would always say: “God will look after us.” We lived through more than one year when I learned that we can make it “with God’s help.”

I followed my older Sister Bernice to Incarnate Word Academy as a boarder at the convent. There I came to know the Incarnate Word Sisters. One day, sitting at the supper table, I announced to my family that I was going to become a nun. It even surprised me when I announced it! After a long pause, Daddy said: “If it is what you want to do, then go ahead-but I give you six weeks and you will be home.”

So, on September 8th, 1965, I left what I had known all my life to begin a new venture-a city life with new kinds of food, new expectations, new routines…Yet I knew “with God’s help” I could do it.

Along with my spiritual growth plan and God’s daily life plan for me, I earned my bachelor’s degree and then my master’s and then continuing education credits.

Answering God’s call to serve others is one of the reasons I entered religious life. I have served as a teacher in every grade level, a school administrator, a director of a diocesan youth camp, an educational consultant, a director of a community assistance program, and a parish Religious Education Director.

God has gifted me so that I can share my gifts with others. So my ability as a “handy woman” is at the service of my community. I dabble in minor plumbing, electric repairs, carpentry, and auto mechanics. I enjoy the outdoors; so I grow plants, mow the yard, trim trees, and help in God’s work of beautifying the earth.

My Sister’s support, encouragement and love has helped me become the person I am today. Working, studying, praying, eating, conversing and playing with my Sisters is a constant experience of love and God’s presence.

As a Sister of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, each of us is called to bring Jesus to others, included in the “others” is each of us in community. Our lives call us to make Jesus present at all times through our work, our prayer, our play. Each of us is blessed (holy one of God) and each of us is sacrament (sign of God’s love) to one another. This Jesus we know and share in community, we take with us to those we serve and those who serve us. What a wonderful experience of God’s love!

Is religious life easy? Well, if it is about me, then NO! If it is about God, then YES! No road in life is easy if it is taken without God. When God is with us, “All things are possible.” Praised be the Incarnate Word! Thank you, God!