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Sister Barbara Kukla

Her teachers at St. John’s in South Milwaukee inspired Barbara Kukla to join the Racine Dominicans. “They were good and prayerful,” she recalled. “I wanted to learn more about God and to do something for others by teaching.” She was fascinated with God and with “what all this meant in living my life.”

For many years S. Barbara taught in Catholic schools and religious education programs around Michigan and Wisconsin before moving into parish work and then the ministry of art therapy. “Working with others as an art therapist has been very rewarding,” she said. “All of my previous work and studies have led me and given me the skills to be a good therapist. Just as I loved seeing the lights go on in the eyes of students when I was teaching, I love seeing the insights clients come to in art therapy.”

She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Dominican College, a Master’s degree from Notre Dame University, completed CPE training at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, earned a Bachelor’s degree in painting from Ohio University and a Master’s degree in art therapy from Ursuline College in Ohio.

Through the years, S. Barbara has come to realize what it means to be part of community. “Even though I work alone and far away from Racine, I always feel connected and supported by my community,” she said. She sees as a benefit of living in community that of having a strong support group for personal growth and for working for peace and justice.

S. Barbara would like people to look to the Racine Dominicans “for inspiration in following what God has asked all people to do, that is, to love others by sharing resources, by caring for one another and for the earth – by healing, by standing up for what is right and by standing with the poor.”