Sister Barbara White, O.P.
Sister M. Martha White, O.P.
Sister Barbara White was born at Herman Hospital here in Houston, Texas. She was one of seven children born to Ernest Walter White and Martha Mary Baranski White. Sister Barbara attended Christ the King grade school and went on to graduate from St. Agnes Academy in 1953. Growing up she had entertained the idea of being a dress designer. She really enjoyed creating with fabrics and began taking classes at Sacred Heart Dominican College. In the fall of 1953 she decided she wanted to do something more meaningful than fashion design and entered the convent where her older sister Theresa was.
Sister Barbara made her First Profession and began teaching at St. Mary Catholic School in Port Arthur. She was there four years before going to St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Port Neches. She then moved to Riverside, California and taught alongside companion Dominican Sisters for five years at Francis de Sales Catholic School. Sister Barbara helped open St. Francis Cabrini Catholic School, teaching arts and language. Here she also served as assistant principal.
Sister Barbara attended the University of St. Thomas and earned a Masters in Religious Education in 1974. During this time she was teaching religion at St. Thomas More. She held the Director of Religious Education position at All Saints Catholic Church from 1972-1976. She enjoyed her work in the parishes as the Director of Religious Education. “I felt like I was able to be more creative and use my talents.” Sister Barbara was Director of Religious Education at Sacred Heart Church in Conroe, St. Luke the Evangelist and Epiphany of the Lord during the years of 1976-1994.
In 1994 Sister Barbara took a sabbatical and attended Gonzaga University receiving certification in Spirituality. Upon returning she became the Pastoral Assistant at Sacred Heart in Conroe doing adult formation, RCIA, and direct work with the pastor. During this time her brother became ill and in 2000 died of bone cancer. She spent much of her time visiting him and other patients during his hospital stay. She enjoyed being in the hospital setting and providing comfort to sick patients. In 2002 she took Clinical Pastoral Education at MD Anderson and began to work as the Staff Chaplain at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont. She really enjoyed being a chaplain, serving at St. Elizabeth for eight years. “Being a hospital chaplain was most rewarding but I couldn’t have done it without the religious education, “ said Sister Barbara.
Sister Barbara is very happy with her decision to become a Dominican Sister."I thank my wonderful parents for the inspirational example given to me through the years before their deaths. They were always very supportive with my decisions and aspirations."
Currently Sister Barbara is living at Mageveney Convent. She continues her medical ministry at St. Dominic Villa.
“I can see God’s graces and blessings. Because of the different educational experiences over these years I have a better appreciation of Dominican history, of what He has given and what we can give to others. These are gifts we are given through religious education.”
Interview with Sister Barbara White, O.P. on November 25, 2013. Updated March 2017.