The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Barbara Wragg: In Fayetteville with an Irish heart of gold

Published: April 14, 2012   
Patricia May
Barbara Wragg oversees the janitorial staff for St. Joseph Church and School and serves as wedding coordinator in Fayetteville.

Name: Barbara Wragg

Parish: St. Joseph Parish, Fayetteville

Age: 66

Family: One daughter, Kelly, and her husband, Gene Gangluff; one son, Eliot, and his fiancé, Erin Lowrie; and three grandsons

Why you want to know Barbara: A native of Northern Ireland, Wragg married an Englishman and lived in South Africa for a number of years before the family moved to Arkansas, first to Pine Bluff and 15 years ago to Fayetteville. She began cleaning at the church a decade ago; today, she supervises the janitorial staff for the church and school (but she’s a working supervisor who still helps with the actual cleaning) and serves as wedding coordinator for couples married at the church.

In her own words

Arkansas Catholic's theme this year is "Catholic Beyond Sunday." How do you remain committed as a Catholic beyond Sunday?

I don’t necessarily believe you have to go to Mass every day, (but) I do understand you have to receive the sacraments to get through the Pearly Gates. I just try to be the best person I can … to be a soldier of Christ (as we were taught for confirmation). I pray every day when I leave my house for work, cleaning houses and the church. I pray for people in my family and also, I pray for the holy souls who have died, those without any family to pray for them. I think you can be anywhere and pray. I know God is everywhere.

What do you like about this parish?

I love this job, I love the children, the teachers. I love it here. This is home. I came to work here 10 years ago when my husband of 36 years asked for a divorce and I had no money. I asked the parish priest, Father Paul Worm, for a job cleaning because I knew how to do that. I do the work of a janitor but that’s not who I am. I have loved all the priests here.

Do you have hobbies?

My family is my life. After Saturday evening Mass, my three grandsons go with me out to eat, then to Wal-Mart for snacks and home for the evening. My son, Eliot, who also works for the parish, is being married in June to Erin Lowrie, science teacher at the church school. Erin has been attending RCIA classes and became a Catholic at Easter this year. I always prayed God would send my son a warm, kind and generous woman, and Erin is all those things. My parents were amazing people who lived and breathed the word of God. They were quiet people but good Christians and Catholics. My father was a baker for 53 years and my mother helped neighbors in many ways, including preparing bodies for burial so I was never afraid of that.

Do you have other interests?

I got a computer for Christmas and by the end of the day, I was doing Skype. I love my life. All I need is good health and the ability to do a good job. I have macular degeneration and pray God will give me the sight I need to be able to do a good job. I’m the lucky one.

Please read our Comments Policy before posting.

Article comments powered by Disqus