Barbara celebrates welcome to God's space

Touched by Christ

When Barbara Reynolds-Hutchinson was 18 she made a fateful decision to step into St Francis' Chapel at the top of Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. She was not in full communion with the Catholic Church at that stage.

- The Catholic Leader

'I saw a lot of strange people kissing statues and what not,' she said. 'But amazingly I felt immediately at home.

'I was looking for more in life, and this was it. I went on to take instructions in the Catholic faith and was received into the Church.'

Barbara would later discover she had been baptised a Catholic but her parents' disagreement with a parish priest over their plans to send her to a state school had led to their temporary estrangement from the Church.

Her contact with Franciscan spirituality at the chapel would prove formational. For about 20 years she would enter religious life joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary until leaving due to ill health about 17 years ago.

More than this - her coming home to the Church after that encounter with its deep devotional life, together with her exposure to many art forms as a child would eventually lead her to become a guide and welcomer in St Stephen's Cathedral.

The role would bring many other strands of her life together as well - her studies in psychology, being granted a doctorate in Systematic Theology and even her time with the Queensland Police Service in the Juvenile Aid Bureau.

As education officer for the cathedral's guides and welcomers, Barbara recently had the pleasure of seeing 12 new members join the ministry in a special graduation Mass in the cathedral.

St Stephen's Cathedral dean and celebrant, Fr David Pascoe, in his homily, told the 12 they were 'the first face, voice and eyes' of the Church when people visited the cathedral. 'It's such a vital role,' Barbara said. 'You never know who is coming in through the cathedral door.'

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