Sister Barbara Marie Link, Peoria native and teacher, dies

LA CROSSE, Wis. — A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 23 in Mary of the Angels Chapel here for Sister Barbara Marie Link, FSPA, a Peoria native who taught at Catholic high schools in Peoria for 29 years and later served as a Catholic campus minister at the University of Illinois.

Sister Barbara Marie died on Friday, March 19, 2010, at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse. She was 63.

Born Aug. 22, 1946 in Peoria to John and Elizabeth (Kuhar) Link, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria in 1964. She made her final profession of vows on Aug. 12, 1972.

Having earned degrees in history, she taught history and social studies at the former Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute and Bergan High School in Peoria. She then earned a degree in systematic theology and taught religion and history at Peoria Notre Dame High School. Toward the end of her teaching career she taught honors and advanced placement courses.

Sister Barbara Marie was recognized as a master teacher by the State of Illinois in 1984. She received the Peoria Diocesan Teacher Award in 1993. The Notre Dame Club of Peoria’s Exemplar of Service to Education Award was bestowed on her and in 1997 she was named Cosmopolitan Teacher of the Year by the faculty of Peoria Notre Dame High School.

After leaving the classroom she served as a campus minister and pastoral staff member at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois.

In 2003, Sister Barbara Marie transferred to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and moved to La Crosse, where she earned certification in Clinical Pastoral Education and Spiritual Direction and taught in the Diocesan Lay Ministry Program. Sister Barbara Marie then became a chaplain with Heartland Home Care and Hospice in Brookfield, Wis.

In June 2009, she made her home at the Villa while undergoing treatments for cancer.

She is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Link, of Metamora; two brothers, John (Linda) Link of Chillcothe and Al (sue) Link of Peoria; two sisters, Jan (Rick) Holman of Metamora and Midge (Jeff) Barnes of East Peoria; and her Franciscan community.

Burial was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in La Crosse.

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