Sister Barbara Zilch, a Sister of St. Francis of the Providence of God for 64 years died at the age of 81 on September 23, 2019. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Florence (Bodmann) Zilch. She is survived by her sister, Mary (Richard) Miller from Elyria, Ohio; brother, Jim (Marcia) Zilch from Greenville, Delaware, and sister, Jane (William) Schray from Safety Harbor, Florida along with many nieces and nephews.
Sister Barbara was born in Amherst, Ohio on January 30, 1938 and attended St. Joseph Elementary School, Amherst, Ohio and St. Mary’s High School in Lorain, Ohio. For one year, she attended St. Francis Academy, Pittsburgh, where the seed of her religious vocation was planted. Sister Barbara received her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree from Duquesne University.
Her degrees in education were used well as she spent many years teaching primary grades at Saints Peter & Paul, Grand Rapids, MI, St. George, Philadelphia, Holy Trinity in Moon Run, St. Valentine in Bethel Park, and St. Gabriel’s in Whitehall. She served as teacher and principal of Mt. St. Peter in New Kensington for a span of ten years. From 1983-1987, Sister Barbara was part of an inter-congregational House of Prayer in Uniontown, PA.
Sister Barbara ministered as Vocation Director, Formation Director, and Coordinator of the Franciscan Spirit and Life Center, a program for retreats and spiritual development. Sister Barbara had the joy of being the President of the Franciscan Child Day Care Center from 2001-2017. For seventeen years, Sister Barbara was part of the Leadership Team for her community. Until her passing, she served as the Director of the Associate Program, for lay women and men interested in sharing the charism and mission of the congregation. We give thanks to God for Sister’s life, her spirit, her service and her many years of proclaiming the Good News.