Sister Kopel ministered in our diocese


JOHNSTON, Iowa — Sister Barbara Kopel, CHM, 82, who served in a variety of roles in the Diocese of Davenport and elsewhere, died Aug. 9 at Bishop Drumm Care Center.

Barbara Kay Bernadette Kopel was born Feb. 1, 1939, in Marshalltown to Wilbert and Celestine (Neuroth) Kopel. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1964 and professed vows in 1967.

Sister Kopel

Sister Kopel earned a BA in social science and elementary education from Marycrest College in Davenport and a certificate in human resources addiction counseling from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. She also studied at Ottumwa Heights College in Ottumwa; Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; Catholic University in Washington, D.C.; North Carolina University in Greensboro; University of Colorado in Boulder; and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Sister Kopel’s ministry of teaching began in 1961 and spanned 23 years in Catholic schools in Ottumwa, Davenport and West Des Moines and in Denver. She served for nine years in Wheatridge, Colorado, at West Pines Psychiatric Hospital, as a teacher, counselor and case manager. She served as a case manager for five years at the Samaritan House Homeless Shelter in Denver before returning to teaching in the Colorado Catholic schools from 2003-2010. In 2009, she received a certificate marking 20 years of teaching in the Denver Diocese. She was a volunteer staff person at the Center for Contemplative Living in Denver and served as an on-call social worker with a community mental health service.


Sister was an early leader in the Marriage Encounter movement in the Davenport Diocese and was active in prayer and witness ministry while living at the Humility of Mary Center in Davenport.

Private services took place at Bishop Drumm Queen of Peace Chapel and at Humility of Mary Center in Davenport Aug. 16 and 17. Interment was in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Davenport.

Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.

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