Monroe nun has ‘been there’ for people for 60 years

MONROE — God has sent Sister Barbara Geib a lot of places.

In many of them, people were hurting.

She found her blessings in being there for them.

Geib, who turns 80 soon, has been a nun for 60 years on Wednesday. A celebration is planned in Monroe on July 29.

Geib has served the Monroe area since 1977. She works out of St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church, along W. Columbia Street.

She also volunteers with the schools, the police and fire departments and too many other community groups to count.

Geib was born in San Francisco and joined the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1952. She spent decades teaching in Catholic schools in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

At St. Mary in Monroe, she helps prepare for Mass, baptisms and funerals.

She’s also been a chaplain for 30 years, working with police officers and firefighters to comfort people in crisis.

“Most of my life here has just been being there for someone, no matter what the situation is,” she said. “I always say that God puts me in places where you never know you’re going to be called.”

Geib is there when emergency crews have to notify a family of a death. She also goes to bad car accidents, infant deaths and attempted suicides.

“I don’t do much talking. I pray before I go,” she said. “I’m just there for the person to hold their hand and put my arm around their shoulder. After awhile, they talk for a bit and then we pray.”

Geib is a cherished mainstay of the police department, police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said. She works with victims, but she also provides support to all of the police employees and their families.

Geib also serves as the police department’s domestic-violence victim advocate.

“She’ll walk alongside them and make sure they have what they need to be safe,” Willis said.

The firefighters know Geib as someone who steps up to do whatever is needed, Monroe fire Capt. Ron Adams said.

“She’s a wonderful woman,” he said.

Geib’s positive spirit helps her connect with parishioners, said the Rev. Phillip Bloom, the pastor at St. Mary.

She knows everyone, and has no problem gently reminding them to stay on the right path, including young people, Bloom said.

“If a person’s not doing quite what they should, Sister Barbara’s got a good way of calling them to account,” he said.

At the parish, Geib likes to remind folks that God always will have a reason to call them, even if it’s just to say a kind word to someone, she said.

She is grateful that she was called to Monroe, a community where people have been good to her.

“God has put me in such a wonderful situation in Monroe,” she said. “I would say God sent me here.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

A celebration for Sister Barbara Geib’s 60 years of service is planned at the 9:30 a.m. Mass on July 29 at St. Mary of the Valley, 601 W. Columbia Street, Monroe. A reception will follow.

In lieu of gifts, people are asked to donate to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur retirement fund, St. Mary of the Valley, the Mary Bloom Center or the Monroe police dog program.

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