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Barbara Stahl, Ph.D. (Eulogy)

January 18, 2004

In the name of Abbot Matthew, chancellor of Saint Anselm College, and Father Jonathan, our president, and in behalf of the faculty, staff, students and alumni, I offer our condolences to David and his family. While you grieve over the loss of a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and sister, we mourn the loss of a friend and colleague, the senior member of the faculty, whose memory will be cherished as one of our greatest teachers.

There is a frequently repeated prayer in the Book of Psalms:
"Let us give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His love endures forever."

We thank the Lord for the many gifts that came to us since 1954, when Father Bernard, then dean of the college, had the wisdom to offer Barbara a position on the faculty of the college of 600 men. Father Bernard told me once that he had some initial fears about hiring Barbara, the first woman ever to be offered a teaching position at Saint Anselm. Would she be able to control the students in the lectures and labs? In hindsight 50 years later, we know that lack of control was hardly one of Barbara's weaknesses! Barbara not only controlled those men, she mesmerized them with her abilities as an outstanding teacher: her mastery of the material, her persuasive encouragement in the labs, her ability to inculcate, along with the scientific facts, the wonder of God's creation, relating scientific truth to the world of music, art, literature, political, and philosophical thinking. She was a natural for our Humanities Program. She saw the program as opening our students to the values of liberal learning, as the way to strengthen our civilization. Barbara taught us all very well, whether in the classroom, at meetings, or in the coffee shop with her strong convictions, good humor, and hard work for our students, especially those planning to enter medical school and the health professions. There is no more fitting way I can think of to memorialize her contribution to the college than by continuing her high standards of excellence. In her fidelity to Saint Anselm College and her example of patient endurance of suffering during the past years, it became clearer than ever what a great gift we had in Barbara.

And so,
"Let us give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His love endures forever."

Father Peter Guerin, O.S.B.

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