Sister M. Jean Barbara (Korkisch), C.S.C.April 13, 1939 ~ August 23, 2017 (age 78)
Sister M. Jean Barbara, CSC
(Barbara Jean Korkisch)
April 13, 1939 – August 23, 2017
Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Takoma Park, Maryland
Initial Profession of Vows on August 15, 1964
Notre Dame, IN – Sister Jean Barbara never intended to minister in either the classroom or a hospital. She was better suited to the outdoors and had mechanical aptitude. It was no surprise that her first assignment in 1966 had to do with directing the grounds and building maintenance departments in Kensington, Maryland at the Academy of the Holy Cross and later in Alexandria, Virginia at St. Mary’s Academy. By the end of 1981 she had developed a range of practical skills in purchasing and campus management services at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. It was not until she was 42 years old that she felt a strong call to use her natural gifts for the sake of the poor, a call which the Sisters of the Holy Cross also felt keenly. In 1983, after completing her M.A. at Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts, she spent the rest of her life in ministry in community development with the rural poor of Appalachia in southwestern Virginia. In her four-wheel drive vehicle, “Sister Jean” covered a lot of territory along Highway 63 in the towns, hollers, ridges and coalfields of Dickenson County (population 15,000). From her base in Nora and Clintwood, she directed the McClure River Valley Community Development Center, collaborating with local residents and groups “to maximize the resources of the individual and to empower people to take charge of their own lives, identifying the root causes of oppression and finding collective strategies of action and support for change.” Countless adults and youth came from across the country and spent their spring and summer vacations rehabbing and repairing houses. Sister believed that a little cleaning and a fresh coat of paint could do wonders, not to mention being a community activist. Due to serious illness, Sister Jean had to leave Appalachia but she arrived at Saint Mary’s Convent wearing the jeans, T-shirt, and sweatshirt of her 34 years of labor among the people she loved. The only thing missing was a smudge of paint on one cheek and a bit of coal dust on the other. Within a month of her arrival at Saint Mary’s, holy oils on her forehead, eyes, lips, hands, and feet prepared her to “fly away” to meet the God of the Poor. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Ministry with the Poor Fund, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or online at www.cscsisters.org
Reception of the body and wake will be Monday August 28, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at 1:30 pm. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.