Monday, August 6, 2018


Mother Ruth with Mother Catarina

Our oldest nun, Mother Ruth Barry, died om Saturday August 4.  It was not unexpected as she just reached her 91st birthday.  She had still been doing the community’s wash until a few months ago, and in the last weeks we saw a rapid decline.  Her last words to Mother Prioress were:  I want to go to the Lord.  I am ready.

Mother was born in Wrens, Georgia to a tenant farmer, whose main crop was cotton. Her mother made her her own picking bag when she was four, so she could join the family in the work.  Mother loved telling stories of her life on the farm.  She had too many brothers and sisters to remember (for us anyway) and kept in frequent contact with her nieces and grand nieces and nephews, all of whom still live in the south.  She worked for many years in New York before joining our Abbey in Connecticut in 1968.  

Clean up

She loved the outdoors and for years was in charge of the  vegetable gardens, and  was the Abbey Shepherdess.  Her  Cheviot sheep were her pride and joy.  When she came to Shaw Island she helped me with our Cotswold sheep and kept a sharp eye on them and the llamas, even as she aged.

         While we mourn her passing, we also rejoice that she is with the Lord in His glory.

The Shepherdess
She walks-the lady of my delight-
A shepherdess of sheep.
Her flocks are thoughts. She keeps them white;
She keeps them from the steep;
She feeds them on the fragrant height,
And folds them in for sleep.

She roams maternal hills and bright,
Dark valleys safe and deep.
Into that tender breast at night
The chastest stars may peep.
She walks-the lady of my delight-
A shepherdess of sheep.

She holds her little thoughts in sight,
Though gay they run and leap.
She is so circumspect and right;
She has her soul to keep.
She walks-the lady of my delight-

A shepherdess of sheep.
Alice Meynell

With Shanley


  1. This is beautiful. I will miss you Mother Ruth, a.k.a Aunt Pearl.

  2. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. With love, Jordan and Stephanie Parlee