Barbara Ross worked for the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City for 33 years, first in parish work, and for 27 years as the director of the Social Concerns Office and the director of social services for Catholic Charities under the direction of the local Bishop. During these years she was also the Rural Life Director for the Diocese and was responsible for organizing social and legislative advocacy, networking with parishes, groups and agencies, following related public policy and regulation, writing and presenting testimony and providing education to parishes and other groups as needed or requested. A highly regarded “rural life day” was held for over 21 years. This day featured major leaders and thinkers in the area of food, agriculture and environment.
Barbara grew up on a family farm in north central Mo. and experienced the “farm crisis” of the 1980’s with her family, her community and with the work she was doing within the Church.
Some of her work with Catholic parishes, community groups and organizations included
- Sharing the social teaching of the Church
- Building the capacity of the Church to act effectively to protect human dignity and rights, to pursue justice, peace, and the common good.
- Applying Catholic Social Teaching to major contemporary issues that have significant moral and human dimensions.
- Advocating effectively for the poor and vulnerable, and for justice and peace in the public policy arena.
This work included
- Organizing parish social justice ministry (prison ministry & outreach, rural life, parish nursing, building parish social ministries etc.)
- Conducting legislative advocacy (food, agriculture, environment, health care, poverty concerns/economic justice, prison/carceral concerns, war, peace and others
- Engaging community and network building
- Providing disaster response
- Directing the diocesan work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development
- Directing the diocesan work of Catholic Relief Services
- Providing effective administrative and staff oversight
Barbara retired from her work for the Catholic Diocese as of January 2017. She continues to work with a variety of causes and organizations including Mid-Missouri-Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Missouri Farmers Union, Adult Basic Literacy Education, Central Mo. Chapter of Physicians for A National Health Program, Empower Missouri, Jefferson City Area Indivisible and others, as well, she continues to serve on the state-wide board of Missouri Faith Voices.
Prior to working for the Catholic Diocese, she was a school teacher and a social worker.
Barbara earned a bachelor’s degree in Social and Community Services from the Univ. of Mo., a second bachelor’s degree in Education from Central Methodist University, and, a master’s degree in Education from the University of Mo.
She continues to live in Jefferson City, Missouri.