Sister Bernadette was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1929. Her parents were Herbert and Hermina Eaton and she had four brothers and two sisters. She graduated from St. Mark’s School and the Academy of Our Lady. In 1948, she was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as Sister Rose Hermina. Sister Bernadette received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Fontbonne College in 1971.
Sister Bernadette began her career teaching on the elementary level at St. Joseph Home for the Friendless in Chicago in 1950. In 1952, she taught in Kansas City, Missouri, at Visitation Grade School. In 1953, Sister Bernadette returned to the Archdiocese of Chicago where she served 52 continuous years dedicated to the children at St. Joseph Carondelet Child Center, formerly known as St. Joseph Home for the Friendless. Sister Bernadette worked with the children at the Home as dorm supervisor and teacher for 33 years. She then became the medical coordinator in 1986 until the center closed in 2005. From 2005 to the present, Sister Bernadette serves the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago as the project coordinator to the Office of the President.
Along with her work at Catholic Charities, Sister Bernadette is the volunteer sacristan at Mercy Hospital. She also volunteers weekly at the Lincoln Park Cat and Dog Clinic. She is known as someone who has a great love of cats.
Throughout her career Sister Bernadette was an active craft maker. In 1988, she was the recipient of the “Friend of St. Joseph Award.” The chapel at the children’s home was named “The Sister Bernadette Eaton Chapel” in honor of her 50th jubilee.