Sister Francine Barsh

We commend to your charity the soul of our beloved

Sister Francine Barsh

who departed this life on September 26, 2012

in the seventy-eighth year of her religious life

Age: 95 years, 4 months, 18 days

Funeral: Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4 p.m.

Complete funeral arrangements are as follows: Viewing in the Community Room at Providence Heights on Thursday, September 27 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. and on Friday, September 28 from noon-3:30 p.m. Wake Service in the Community Room on Thursday, September 27 at 7 p.m. Mass of Resurrection on Friday, September 28 at 4 p.m. in the Mother of Divine Providence Chapel at Providence Heights.

“But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.” (Daniel 12:2)

Sister Francine Barsh, baptized Rosella on May 20, 1917, in the Croatian Church of St. Nicholas, was the eighth of the 13 children of Mildred (Bukovac) and John Barsh, who were born in Croatia. She was preceded in death by siblings Anna, John, Barbara, Michael, Joseph, Marie, Mathilda, George, Thomas, James, and Irene, and is survived by Richard. The Barshes lived in the Sharpsburg-Etna area. The next generation of Barshes populated schools staffed by the Sisters of Divine Providence in Etna, Sharpsburg, and Glenshaw, as well as Divine Providence Academy.

Growing up, Sister Francine and her brother used to race each other to Ranalli’s Market on Maplewood Street to do the family shopping. She frequently won the race. Quite athletic, she also swam like a fish and was a perfect diver.

Mr. and Mrs. Barsh helped the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer with their fundraising. All those Sisters knew the Barshes. Sister Francine might have joined that community, since she always wanted to be a Sister. But Anna, her oldest sibling, a teacher, encouraged her to go to the Sisters of Divine Providence Aspirant School, so that she would get a better education than she might otherwise have gotten. Also, Anna knew Sister Hildegarde Cvetic, Marie’s sister-in-law, and that sealed the future for Sister Francine.

As a Sister of Divine Providence, Sister Francine ministered for more than 50 years in education, as teacher and principal, and especially as an excellent mathematics teacher. With her students she was very quiet and gentle, but very firm.

Her niece Pat, who went to St. Mary’s High School, had friends from St. Alphonsus in Springdale who had been taught by Sister Francine. They spoke very highly of their teacher. She got along especially well with the boys, probably because she grew up with seven brothers.

Sister Francine was also a musician. In the late 1930s, she studied liturgical music at the Pius X School of Liturgical Music at Manhattanville College in New York. She played piano and organ, and also directed a choir.

She liked being with her sisters. When one sister was in a nursing home, she would take two buses to visit her there. While caring for another sister, she found herself in a new ministry to senior citizens who lived across the street.

Sister Francine was devoted to her teaching and loved all her ministries. She preferred to stay in the background, rather than in the limelight, and she related well in one-on-one situations. She was a very prayerful person, quiet and refined, a genteel individual who could always find something good in any situation.

Truly, Sister Francine Barsh has led the many to justice, whether ministering as teacher, principal, musician, or to the elderly by visiting and praying with them. May she be like the stars forever!

Feast day: January 24

Written by Sister Mary Traupman

If you would like to make a gift to the Sisters of Divine Providence in memory of Sister Francine, visit our donation page.