Sister Barbara Ann Zakutney, SSJ, was born in Houtzdale, PA, to Stephen and Elizabeth Susko Zakutney. After completing high school, she graduated from Villa Maria College, Erie, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She also studied at the University of Dayton and Edinboro University.
She heard the call to religious life through prayer and her mother’s example and a dear friend of her mother’s. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1951 from Christ the King Parish (formerly Sacred Heart) in Houtzdale, PA, and made her final vows in 1957.
Much of Sister Barbara Ann Zakutney’s ministry has been dedicated to children. She taught at St. Ann, St. John the Baptist, St. Patrick, and St. Andrew schools, all in Erie and St. Leo, Ridgway. She also served as the first principal of a Diocesan school merger, St. Ann’s school, and St. Casimir School, which became Spirit of Christ school in Erie. She served as Housemother at the former St. Joseph Home for Children in Erie. She shared her musical gifts as a piano and organ teacher.
Following years of ministering in education, in 1986, she became an RN after attending Saint Vincent School of Nursing in Erie. She worked at Saint Vincent Health Center as a staff nurse for 17 years. In January 2001, she was appointed to the Diocesan Medical/Moral Advisory Committee and was confirmed by Bishop Donald Trautman. She also ministered as a caregiver for Reverend Joseph Kacprowicz following his retirement.