Anna Barbara Sakurai (née Brady) (1930–2011) was born in Virginia and as the daughter of an army officer, lived all over the country for the next 18 years. Three of those years were spent attending high school at the Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas. After a year at St. Mary's College in Indiana, Anna Barbara entered the Loretto novitiate in Kentucky and received her habit in 1950.
As Sister Anna Barbara, she came to St. Louis and taught elementary school while working on her college degree in the summer and on weekends. She graduated from what was then Webster College in 1957. She later earned her Master of Education degree at Loyola University in Chicago in 1960. The following year she went abroad to Lumen Vitae, an international center for religious education in Brussels, Belgium.
After receiving her diploma in religious education, she came to Webster in 1963 as a full-time instructor in the Religion Department, where she taught for nine years. During that time, she served as director of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program from 1965–1967 and developed the MAT in Religious Studies. She later taught in the College School, an elementary school which was at that time a part of Webster University. Anna Barbara earned a MAT degree in mathematics from Webster in 1979 and that same year joined Webster's Math and Computer Science Department, where she served as chair from 1985 to 1999.
Anna Barbara's heart led her to leave the Sisters of Loretto and marry Ed Sakurai, a fellow faculty member at Webster, in 1972. They not only taught together for many years but also served the St. Louis community together in various ways. In the late 1980s, Anna Barbara and Ed Sakurai initiated Webster's monthly dinner for the needy held at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in St. Louis, a project that continues to this day.
In 2001, Anna Barbara received the William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching. She retired in 2009 as a professor in the Math & Computer Science Department. Anna Barbara Sakurai passed away in 2011.
Anna Barbara Sakurai came to Webster in the 1960s, a transformative decade not only for the country but for the college and for her on a personal level as well. She discusses her involvement with the MAT program which she directed for three years, the College School, and the development of the Math and Computer Science Department. She touches on the major changes to the college in the 1960s, her involvement with the peace movement during the Vietnam War, and her decision to seek release from her religious vows so she could get married.
"Remembering longtime Professor Anna Barbara Sakurai." Webster Today, June 6, 2011.
Watts, Deena. (2003, Fall). Peter, Paul and Anna Barbara. The Ampersand, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 30–31.
"Webster's M.A.T. director: a religious educator who believes in change." (1966, January). Webster Alumnac, vol. 4, no. 6, p. 2.