By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager
This week's "Embracing Faith" article, will focus on Embracing Faith through Ministry.
Sister Barbara Werner, OP, has impacted the lives of many people throughout her ministries with the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, and Dominican College.
From ministering as Congregation President to Motherhouse Administrator, Sister Barbara oversaw the day to day operations for St. Dominic’s Convent and the community, as a whole. Whereas at Dominican College, Sister Barbara taught mathematics, as well as ministered as the Dean of Students, Director of Teacher Education, Staff Manager, and Office Manager.
For the past two years, Sister Barbara Werner has ministered as the Assistant to the Director of the Office of Special Services for Dominican College.
The Office of Special Services (OSS) directly serves students with disabilities who have met the entrance requirements for Dominican College. OSS is a resource for students, faculty, and administrators. The services that they provide are voluntary and completely confidential.
This ministry has been quite special to Sister Barbara as her daily responsibilities reflect the mission of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York.
Sister Barbara explained, “the mission of the Congregation has always been to take care of the unfortunate and those in need.”
The students that Sister Barbara works with are in great need of assistance as they suffer from disabilities, many of them even being visually impaired and blind.
Blind and visually impaired students work very closely with Sister Barbara throughout the school year as she will help them with their studies by reading to and writing for them.
As Sister Barbara explains, she helps her students in “whatever way is needed.”
Sister Barbara’s Congregation and Dominican College have a long history of directly helping the blind.
Several Sisters have ministered for the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx and the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc., an outgrowth of the school, gives several scholarships out each year to legally blind and severely visually impaired students.
Many of these students have attended Dominican College and even have received the Brother James Kearney Scholarship for the Blind. This Scholarship awards grants up to a maximum of $15,000 per year at Dominican College.
These financial and learning opportunities make it possible for Sister Barbara and the Office of Special Services to provide a positive and supportive campus environment for the blind, visually impaired, as well as any student with a disability.
For Sister Barbara, it’s been “fulfilling.”
“When you teach in a classroom, you don’t know the effect that you are having on a student, but in this ministry, I do notice the impact that I have with each student. Seeing these students succeed and accomplish things that they didn’t think they could is incredibly rewarding to me.”