A funeral Mass for Sister Barbara Becnel will be celebrated May 11, at the National Votive Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in New Orleans. Sister Barbara, formerly known as Sister Marie Sarto, died May 3 at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in New Orleans at age 81. She served in the St. Louis Archdiocese for many years
Born in New Orleans, Sister Barbara graduated from Ursuline Academy in New Orleans and entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1955, making her vows in January 1958.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y.; a master’s degree in English from Saint Louis University; and a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from Tulane University in New Orleans.
Sister Barbara taught at Ursuline Academy in Kirkwood from 1974-75 and was a counselor for religious women in St. Louis from 1975-77. She ministered in clinical psychology in private practice in St. Louis from 1980-1991. During these years, she was elected as a delegate to three General Chapters of the Ursulines that were held in Rome, Italy.
In addition to Ursuline Academy of St. Louis, Sister Barbara taught at the Ursulines’ academies in Springfield, Ill.; New Orleans; and Dallas. She had a private counseling practice in Ogden, N.Y., in the 1990s and spent her last years of active service in pastoral ministry in a rural community in Labrador, Canada. She retired first to St. Joseph Village in Coppell, Texas, and then in 2011 to the Queen of Peace Healthcare Center in Alton, Ill. She moved to Our Lady of Wisdom in New Orleans in 2014.
Survivors include two sisters, Albione Becnel and Denny Becnel McGovern.