Growing in her love for God and his natural world
Growing up on a farm in Washington County, picking strawberries and beans in the summer, and walking the two miles to school on a gravel road was an excellent beginning to Sister Barbara Rose Sohler’s early life. Sr. Barbara Rose is the youngest of eight children, and following four older brothers, led her to spend a lot of time outside, riding her bike, climbing trees, playing in the barn, and exploring the outdoors.
Sr. Barbara Rose went to Catholic school through 6th grade, sparking an interest in the life of a Sister. Yet, she put this in the back of her mind because she thought it would be a hard life. While attending public high school, she planned to marry and have eight children. However, the thought of self-sacrifice and living a purposeful life as a Sister appealed to her more. That motivation to serve led her to join the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.
“You only live one time so you might as well do a good job living,” said Sr. Barbara Rose. “That thought helped me believe the best thing I could do was become a Sister.”
This year, Sister Barbara Rose is celebrating her 60th Jubilee.
Sr. Barbara Rose reflects, “I have lived a really good life and have done my best with God’s help. That is why I’m here. It’s a pull within you; it’s a desire to get closer to God. That is why I became a Sister.”
Once Sr. Barbara Rose entered the religious community, she did not lose her desire to be outside. Fresh air and sunshine added to the wholesome way of living the Sisters provided. Even while she was earning her college degree and after when she was teaching children she spent many hours working in the garden and picking fruit in the Community’s garden on Cooper Mountain.
Throughout her years teaching, Sr. Barbara Rose was dedicated to learning, improving her skills and sharing her techniques with her students – helping them appreciate nature and the world around them. She loved teaching kids in the Sisters’ garden every spring and taking them to the orchard in the fall to identify and pick wild berries. “I think it’s natural for kids to like dirt and gardening, and I taught them how to compost.”
Sister Barbara Rose has also been dedicated to teaching and serving kids all over the world. She taught in an impoverished school in Mississippi where she developed an appreciation for the deep South. She has also earned three Fulbright Summers Abroad Scholarships that enabled her to study and experience the cultures, histories, languages, and values for people across the globe – studying and teaching in Jordan, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Japan, South Korea, and Austria.
All of these experiences helped Sr. Barbara Rose to understand and appreciate the families and students who come to the United States from other countries.
“I have always been eager to share these beautiful experiences with students, staff, and people in the local communities,” said Sr. Barbara Rose.
“My hope is that I can help instill a greater respect for the unique beauty and sacredness that God has implanted in every person.”