Eileen Barton

by: Sr. Mary Carton, IBVM and Mary Ellen McDonnell 

Eileen Barton, graduate of Loretto Englewood in 1962, longtime donor, volunteer and friend to many IBVM, continues to support and live IBVM’s mission. 

While her graduation might have been 60 years ago, her ties were never cut! Sr. Kay Foley, IBVM and good friend Nancy Taylor were Eileen’s classmates and her connections to Loretto. 

What was ‘it’ that kept her close all these years? Eileen states, “It was the way the Sisters taught me, and the influence they had through caring, not just about the content, but about the young women they taught.” Through her 35 years of teaching in the Chicago Public High Schools, she strove to offer that same level of care to each of her students. She brought that care to her children and grandchildren, as well.

After her retirement, Eileen attended Loyola for the Institute of Spiritual Life and then traveled to northern Ghana to work with the Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Uponher return, classmates Sr. Kay and Nancy, along with Loretto friends Gretchen Gerdes, Marlene Gerdes, Mary Ellen McDonnell, Grace Creighton and Susan Fenske, invited her to help out with the Gala that year (and every year after that).  Sr. Kay also encouraged Eileen to write a grant for IBVM ministry, Mary Ward Center. To do that, she went to the Center to meet Sr. Christa Parra and Sr. Mary Howard Moriarty, IBVM. The rest is history!  Eileen has been working at the Mary Ward Center teaching English through topics of interest and poetry to her students. This quarter she is beginning conversation classes with small groups. She continues to infuse her lessons with the care she first experienced at Loretto so many years ago.

Mary Ellen McDonnell reflects, “Eileen’s spirit of generosity has touched many lives in so many ways. The IBVM community is blessed to call her friend. As Meister Eckhart reminds us, ‘If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you it will be enough.’ Thank you, Eileen.”

A Beautiful Gift to Mary Ward Center and the IBVM Community 

by: Sr. Mary Howard Moriarty, IBVM

An anagram poem highlighting some of Eileen’s gifts:

Enjoys teaching, travel, reading thousands of books, a good meal, visiting with friends, theater, politics, the symphony, ethnic food, and people of all ages and cultures.  

Interested in everything, especially dreaming up creative ways to get students involved in bettering themselves. Instills self-confidence, patience and a willingness to make mistakes and to learn by them.                     

Loves people, has a marvelous laugh, lives life to the fullest and listens with her heart.    


Extends a helping hand to everyone in need. Encourages, empathizes and expects that students will succeed in their endeavors through practice and hard work.

Educates with expertise and evokes new ideas.     


Never says “no” to a new opportunity which beckons.

We are grateful to have Eileen at Mary Ward Center to welcome, educate, and enrich our Community in South Chicago!