NEW YORK — Last month, Theresa Bartha commemorated 25 years as a staff member of Holy Name Province. She was honored at the second of two celebrations on June 6. The friars gave Bartha and her family a party at St. Francis Friary here and presented her with the Province’s Francis Medal.
“Work and a feeling of accomplishment are very fulfilling,” Bartha said, “and so it has been my pleasure coming to work each day these past 25 years.”
She was awarded the Francis Medal during a vesper service, followed by dinner at the friary. The Francis Medal is given to individuals whose lives best exemplify the life and values of St. Francis of Assisi.
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, said, “I can think of no one who has exemplified the life of Francis better over these 25 years than Terry Bartha. Her kind compassionate voice, her even temper, her patience, the way she goes out of her way to help a friar or person calling — put it all together and you have the first and best impression that we could ever want for our Province.” He added, “In my travels throughout our Province, I have never met a friar or person who does not think the world of Terry.”
All the friars who have worked in the Provincial Office here were invited to Sunday’s festivities, according to Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, who organized the event. He also organized a May 4 luncheon for Bartha to celebrate her anniversary with Provincial Office coworkers. A photo of John, Erlinda Martinez of the accunting department, and Bartha at the luncheon appears in the rear photo collage.
He said, “Terry’s loyal and dedicated service in the Provincial Office over the last 25 years is inspiring. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with her each day. She has a positive attitude and enthusiasm for her work that are great gifts to all of us in the Provincial Office and to the friars in the Province.”
Quarter Century With Four Provincials in Five Offices
Over 25 years, Bartha has worked under four Provincial Administrations in five Provincial Offices.
“I remember like it was yesterday,” Bartha said, “being interviewed by the late Alban Maguire, OFM, andMatthew Conlin, OFM, in 1985, and then a few weeks later starting my first day at the Provincial Office — which was then located upstairs in one of the former buildings on West 31st Street.”
During her time with the Province, Bartha’s role has evolved from secretary to secretary and office manager, and now to her current position as executive secretary. “Each of us getting to know one another and working together has been very enriching,” she said. “The many wonderful friars and co-workers both here in the Provincial Office and throughout the Province have assisted me in ways too numerous to mention.”
“A lot has happened over my 25 years in the Provincial office,” she added.
John Felice, OFM, Provincial Minister from 1996 to 2005, said of his time working with Bartha, “The first day I took the B train to the 88th Street Provincial Office, I did not know what to expect, but there was Terry with her calming presence and great knowledge of the workings of the office. She would patiently tell me to answer this, give permission for that, write to this bishop or go to this event. And she taught me how to use a computer! I will be forever grateful to her for making my life organized and functional. May we be blessed with many more years of service from our ‘sister’ Terry.”
The five locations of the Provincial Office where Bartha has worked are West 31st Street over the office of Franciscan Pilgrimages, West 88th Street, West 32nd Street, West 27th Street and in the location — since summer of 2007 — at 129 West 31st Street.
Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Bartha moved to Staten Island in 1984. Prior to her job in the Provincial Office, she worked as a secretary to the associate director at Little Flower Children’s Services, a foster care and adoption service, and CBS, Inc., as supervisor of the legal department.
Bartha was previously a homemaker, foster parent to two children, and volunteer at her daughter’s grammar school as librarian and classroom monitor. Through her parish, she aided elderly and sick parishioners, and also volunteered as switchboard operator at the Flatland Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
She is married to Robert Bartha and has two daughters — Caroline, 39, of Pompano Beach, Fla., and Karen Natrella, 36, of Middletown, N.Y. — and one granddaughter, Angelina, 5, who Bartha calls “the love of our lives.”
“Terry truly deserved these moments of celebration so that we could express our gratitude for her presence to us,” Michael said. “I’m extremely pleased that we were able to celebrate Terry’s special milestone anniversary.”
— Rebecca Doel is communication coordinator for Holy Name Province. She, along with communications director Jocelyn Thomas, maintains the Province’s Facebook page, “Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.”