Sister Barbara Mullen, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 66 years, died Sunday, June 12 of cardiac arrest at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif. She was 87.

A graduate of Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, Sister Barbara grew up in a close-knit, musical family. In 1947, she entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus where she struggled with homesickness for the first year. Her father sent Sister Barbara his complete set of drums to lift her spirits.

Later in life, she said it was her love of God that stabilized her during this time. She made her final vows in 1955 and was well known by her religious name Mother Anthony Mary.


Sister Barbara received a bachelor’s degree in English from Villanova University in1959, a master’s degree in educational psychology and guidance from Fordham University in 1962 and a master’s degree in feminist spirituality from the Immaculate Heart College in 2000. She also completed post-graduate studies at Stanford University and Columbia University.

Sister Barbara taught at St. Edward School (1950-1955) and St. James School (1955-1957) in Philadelphia, as well as schools in New York City and Pasadena, Calif., until the mid-1970s.

For the next 39 years, she lived and ministered on the west coast, teaching at high schools. She then joined the women’s studies department at the University of Washington in Seattle as a visiting scholar (1989-1991).

In 1991 Sister Barbara returned to Pasadena where she became the first dean of students and assistant head of school at Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child, positions she held for 14 years. She continued to minister at Mayfield as director of formation to mission where she organized theology seminars for students and led prayer groups for women. She served the school community for a total of 25 years.

Sister Barbara was the loving daughter of the late Anthony James and Marie (nee Speicher) Mullen. She now joins her parents and siblings, Maureen, Anthony (AJ), George, and Jim in eternal life. She is survived by a brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Sister Barbara’s funeral Mass was celebrated Friday, June 17 at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, Calif.