During her life, Dr. Gertrude Barber encouraged parents to have dreams for their children, worked to bring opportunity and acceptance to those long kept at the margins, and inspired society to change the way it had always thought about children and adults with disabilities. She regarded all persons as "children of God" and celebrated the inherent uniqueness in every individual while believing that we are all more alike than we are different. As her cause for sainthood is considered, those who believe in Dr. Barber's mission are invited to support the effort through prayer, by sharing their testimony and by donating to support efforts to share her story.
You guided Your servant, Gertrude Barber,
to a lifetime ministry of bringing hope to children and
their parents as they faced the often overwhelming
challenges of living with autism and disabilities,
while inspiring us to recognize all individuals
as people of God.
We know you hear our prayers
as we gather in Your name:
If it is in Your design that Gertrude be glorified by the
Church, so as to further her extraordinary mission,
show us Your will. Grant us the grace to hear your
answer and commit ourselves to take up her cause by
the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, J.C.L.
Bishop of Erie
11 December 2019
As a loving and caring individual, a highly respected and admired professional, and a concerned civic leader, Gertrude delicately touched the souls of many and left behind a precious imprint of herself on families, friends, and her community.
Dr. Barber was always there to compassionately guide families through the darkest hours. She guided us through trying times and brought us to a much higher level by allowing us to find some reason for our experience, and then to put it to good use in assisting others. Dr. Barber ... delivered every individual she encountered to a place that can only be described as their personal best.
Dr. Barber gave you a different perspective on people with disabilities. She called them 'abilities' and so it just really had a positive spin on everything. It really gave you hope, and that's what most parents really needed.
She had a huge impact on the community; she got people to accept people who were different … Gertrude created something really special and unique and if you go across the United States, you'll have a hard time finding an organization like the Barber Center.
We were her family; our children were her children, and we could pretty much talk to her about anything. I think part of what Dr. Barber was doing came from her instincts as a woman to make sure that children – all children – had the same benefits in the community. She's left a legacy of memories and has left a true and lasting effect.
Dr. Barber was the Mother Teresa of Erie. She saw the suffering of the exceptional children and adults of this area and used her manifest skills and above all, her love, to respond. With indomitable faith in God, Dr. Gertrude was a pioneer in service to those beloved by Christ. She left a thriving institution to carry on the work of service, education, and love that will always reflect the ideals of this humble, resourceful and noble woman. She has enriched our world.
Gertrude was a beautiful lady, but her outward beauty was a reflection of her inward refinement and peace knowing that she was doing God's work. Everyone who came in contact with her knew how special they were, for she had that ability to make each of us feel so special.