May 8, 1948- August 25, 2021
Sister Lois Ann Barton, CSJ, 73, died unexpectedly on August 25, 2021, in Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Plymouth, MA.
Sister Lois was born in Newton, Massachusetts, on May 8, 1948, the daughter of Mary Cavanaugh Barton and John Peter Barton. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph for 54 years. After graduating from St. John’s Catholic Academy in Syracuse, New York, Sister Lois entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on September 15, 1966 and professed her final vows on August 4, 1974.
Sister Lois completed her B.A. in French at the College of Saint Rose and her M.A. from Middlebury College. She also studied French at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. As her ministries grew more varied, Sister Lois completed numerous certificate programs, aided by her great love of reading.
Sister Lois spent her entire ministerial life in the Binghamton, New York, area, first as a high school teacher of French and later as director of new members for the Sisters of St. Joseph, followed by service as Director of Religious Education for several parishes. The Diocese of Syracuse then appointed her head of the Southern Region, overseeing parishes and faith formation opportunities.
For nearly 40 years, Sister Lois lived in the community at The Spiritual Center, a retreat and renewal center in Windsor, New York. There she was the enthusiastic “meet and greet” sister for those who came seeking retreats, direction and spiritual growth. She also offered her own exceptional gifts to the wide variety of persons from all faith communities and walks of life. Sister Lois was particularly gifted as a spiritual director, and she found joy in this ministry.
In 2013, Lois realized a dream of many years, founding The Sophia Center for Spirituality in Binghamton. Co-founders Lois and Barbara Kane described their desire to help people deepen their personal relationship with God through contemplative prayer and meditation. To this end, they offered weekly prayer and contemplation groups, “lunch with the Psalms” sessions, spiritual direction and exploration of the wide mystic traditions in Christianity and beyond.
To all of these endeavors, Sister Lois brought joy, energy, a ready acceptance of persons from all spiritual paths and deep wisdom. She combined these gifts with a gentle wit which colored the dozens of presentations she gave. Lois was an accomplished dancer, delighting parishes and the Sisters of St. Joseph with her interpretations of music and Scriptural selections at community celebrations. She had a generous heart and an eager embrace of diversity, feeling at home in almost any venue. Her reading was wide, often cutting-edge, but she also cherished the traditional and the ordinary in both Roman Catholic and other spiritual families.
In addition to her ministry at both Spiritual and Sophia Centers, Lois’ gifts were sought throughout the Sisters of St. Joseph. She served on numerous congregational committees and was regularly elected as a delegate to meetings.
Lois treasured her sister and brother, Paula and John, as well as a host of cousins. She and Paula loved to travel and enjoyed seeing France, Holland and other sites. She retained a deep affection for her home state, Massachusetts; it was there that she was ultimately embraced by the God she served with such commitment and joy.
Sister Lois is survived by her sister, Paula Barton, and her brother, John (Debbie) Barton, a multitude of loving relatives and friends—three generations’ worth—and the Sisters of St. Joseph, who will miss her radiant presence dearly. In particular, she will be missed by her faithful local CSJ community, Sisters Elizabeth Newell, Susan Reschke and Paula Browne.
All services for Sister Lois will take place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 498 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110 on Friday, September 3. Arrangements for these services are as follows: wake, noon-1:00 p.m.; prayer service, 1:00 p.m.; funeral liturgy, 2:00 p.m. Parish practices during COVID include wearing masks throughout the services, keeping distance when possible and avoiding touch during the Sign of Peace. Burial will follow in the community cemetery of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Contributions in Sister Lois’s memory may be made to The Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.