Barbara Wright
an appreciation

It is appropriate that Barbara’s funeral service is taking place in the Chapel of Trinity College. The chapel is home to different denominations within the college and in her lifetime Barbara was an active member of several different churches. I knew Barbara as a quiet pleasant woman who attended the Unitarian Church when she was not away on her travels.
          Earlier this year Barbara offered to give the address on Sunday 31st March 2019 service; she wanted to speak about one of our stained glass windows. The service was Superman in action; you know Kent Clarke is a quietly spoken man until he uses his superpowers. Barbara gave the appearance of being a quiet woman until she went into the pulpit and began to speak. And like superman Barbara wowed the congregation; she made us look with new eyes at this stained glass window.
          I know that many members went home and “Googled” her; there was a collective sigh of relief from the other service takers when we realised that she had the advantage of a lifetime’s experience as a University Lecturer. Trinity College was a huge part in Barbara’s life; one of her greatest gifts was that she was an inspiring teacher. Barbara was an educator, she drew out the best in people, she empowered everyone she met. Leaving her company one always felt uplifted and energised.
          When Barbara gave her address she spoke about the Wilson Memorial Window; her address concentrated on a particular section of it - called “Discovery.” There are three sections in the Discovery panel. Christopher Columbus is used to represent the physical discovery of our earth. A Scientist in the laboratory represents the curiosity, ingenuity, the tenacity of humanity. The top section depicts an astronomer who is looking up towards and beyond the stars. (Oscalt Magazine June 2019)
          That stained glass panel is a reflection of Barbara’s life. Discovery and new knowledge fascinated her. Whether it was spending weeks in the Sinai desert or on a wet windy Island Barbara explored everything.
          She believed that knowledge and beliefs must stand up to scientific scrutiny. She lived her life conscious of a spiritual dimension beyond the success of this world; she was the most practical of Christians. She was interested in, and open to, every kind of discovery. Even when she was given her diagnosis she said “it’s really very interesting…”. She was talking about the x rays and MRIs of her tumour. For Barbara knowledge is to be pursued with commitment and an open mind.
          Barbara attained great distinction as a member of the Academic Staff of this illustrious College. I had the privilege of sitting with her in the coffee shop here in the autumn after she became ill. I noticed that everyone – From the academics, to students, administrators, cleaners, the cashiers and the kitchen staff - everyone, greeted Barbara with a hug and a kiss. The warmth of her personality was also evident in how the carers, particularly those she only met in the last few months of her life, came to love her.
          Today we say goodbye and thank you to a wonderful teacher.
          Barbara:- Slan leat agus beannachati ort. Mile Buiochas agus ar cheis De go raith d’anam. Buiochas duit A Bharbara.
          In our time of suffering may we find the courage to sit with and look into the experience of pain and loss. When the intense pain passes as it surely will- may we find in the experience pearls of wisdom and grace. May we emerge as more kind and loving people. May our experiences make us more open to the beauty and the many gifts of our lives. May we find that we are stronger in the broken places of our lives.


Rev.Bridget Spain
Minister Dublin Unitarian Church


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