April 2011: SISTER MIRIAM JOSEPH BARDOT (entered eternal life on April 24, 2017)
Born on March 17, 1916, in Luebbering, MO, to August and Cecelia (Barbaud) Bardot, she was named Kathryn Leona. She came from a family of two boys and six girls – she was the second youngest of her siblings. The Bardots were farmers and first generation Americans with parents having arrived from Evette, France. Living in a rural area meant lots of hard work for the family, but there was also time for leisure, including playing ball. The family bond was strong and rooted in the catholic faith. It was not uncommon to see the family on their way to Mass in the back of a horse-drawn wagon, even in the bitter cold, on Sundays, and Holy Days.
After graduating from St. Francis Borgia High School (Washington, MO), she worked at St. Francis Borgia parish as a secretary to the Franciscan Friars. At age 21, she entered our Community and professed First Vows on October 4, 1939. She studied nursing at St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in 1943. Her first assignment was in nursing here at the Motherhouse. However, her superiors recognized a gift in her – her secretarial skills and her gift of working with numbers. So for the next 12 years, she served in the Motherhouse offices learning skills that would be helpful in her future assignments.
Life of service
She was the administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital (Chippewa Falls, WI) from 1956-1962, followed by an assignment in admitting at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (Belleville, IL). In 1965, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Quincy University. Her following assignments included the business offices at St. Vincent Hospital (Green Bay, WI) and St. Mary’s Hospital (Streator, IL), and accounting services at the Motherhouse, St. John’s TB Sanitarium, and Provincial Accounting. For several years, she also served at our House of Prayer in Henry, IL.
Recollections from friends and family
“In August 1979, Sister Miriam Joseph arrived at St. Mary’s and worked as the Accounts Payable Clerk. She was a ‘happy-go-lucky’ person who always put a positive light on even the most negative situation. Even though she was very devoted to her religious calling, she also maintained her secular relationships with coworkers as if she had worked with us all her life,” said Andy Matsko, St. Mary’s Hospital (Streator, IL).
“Sister Miriam Jo had a lot of personality and expertise,” explained Joan Batson, coworker in the Provincial Accounting department from 1986-1996. She made me laugh everyday with stories and comments. I think of her as a ‘jack-of-all trades’ who was very good at what she was asked to do, and she was practical with a keen common sense. She was also obedient to her Community and very fond of her family,” Joan added.
“She clearly seemed to love her work, her vocation, and the people around her,” wrote David Bauer, Sister Miriam Joseph’s nephew. “She is a wonderful example to me of happiness, confidence, and spirituality,” he concluded.