Obituary of Sister Barbarine Houdek, OSF
Joliet Franciscan Sister Barbarine (M. Leonard) Houdek passed into eternal life on October 10, 2023, at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital. She would have celebrated her 98 birthday in November. Sister Barbarine was a teacher, actor, stage manager, and librarian. She was a devoted and cherished member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 81 years.
Sister Barbarine was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1925, in Calmar, Iowa, to the late Elizabeth (Pletka) and Leonard A. Houdek. She was preceded in death by her brother Bernard Houdek. Sister Barbarine is survived by her niece Gail Marciniak, grand-niece Stephanie Marciniak, nephew Allan Houdek, many friends, and colleagues. She will be missed by all those who knew her and by the audiences to which she brought joy.
The Houdek family moved from Calmar, Iowa, to Chicago, Illinois, where as a young child Sister Barbarine attended St. Cyril and Methodius Grade School. She received her high school diploma (1942) from St. Francis Academy and a BA (1958) from the College of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. Sister Barbarine was an elementary school teacher (1944-1975) in Chicago, Joliet, and Manhattan, Illinois, as well as Cleveland, Mansfield and Worthington, Ohio. However, her lifelong dream was to work in the theater, after receiving her MA in Theatre Arts (1972) from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. Sister Barbarine moved to California where she was the religion and drama instructor at several high schools (1978-1989) and assistant Director of Education Services (1982-1984). Sister taught English, speech and media arts at St. Francis High School (1989-2016) LaCanada Flintridge, California, where she also served as a full time Librarian for 14 years.
Sister Barbarine was a member of several community theater groups as an actor and director. She appeared on stage in character roles in “Summer and Smoke” “Come Blow Your Horn” “See How They Run” and “Guys and Dolls.” She was stage manager for “Unsinkable Molly Brown” but never listed all the plays for which she was assistant director or stage manager because in her words “they were too numerous.“ Sister Barbarine retired from teaching and theater at the age of 90. She moved to Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home and then to StoryPoint Memory Care. Even there, her ministry of prayer and presence continued to bring joy to the sisters and residents.
Visitation for Sister Barbarine Houdek will be held at 10:00 a.m. in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 404 North Hickory Street, Friday, October 20, 2023, followed by the Mass for Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Remembrances and committal will take place at approximately 12:00 p.m. in the Chapel at Resurrection Cemetery, 200 W. Romeo Rd. Romeoville, IL 60446. All are welcome to attend.
If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Barbarine Houdek or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please send your memorial to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, 1433 Essington Road, Joliet, IL, 60435.
For more information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com