This obit in the Shreveport Times caught my eye today of Sr Helen Marie Mason MSC.
I never knew her but I bet you dollars to donuts I have run across a lot of Catholic and Protestant women that were affected by her life (and most doing quite well by the way) through her work at St Vincent's Academy. That was just one of her many stops serving her Church and Lord.
A couple of things that caught me about this obit. First North Louisiana is not exactly a Catholic Mecca. Her parents are from towns that very much were not huge Catholic areas of the North Louisiana. So the seed of faith that would have such an impact on so many others was planted way earlier.
She entered the Daughters of the Holy Cross before World War II. She continued getting a fine education throughout her life so serve others.
She served over the State. She served countless people and was an example of Christ to many places in the Diocese of Alexandria (which later part the Diocese of Shreveport came out of ).
When people her age had long retired she was down in the Archdiocese of New Orleans working at the Holy Cross College and at De Le Salle High School . In the last few years of her life she went to Opelousas (Diocese of Lafayette) to the Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home. One suspects he kept busy there!!
I noticed on the Times Obit Guest Book page a few people have left some remarks.
Ah, Sweet Sister Helen Marie. I will always remember you. As a foolish freshman at SVA I was asked to wash some radishes in my Home Ec class. As you came over to check on my progess you were appalled that I was washing them in scalding hot water. You rescued the radishes by scooping them quickly out of the hot water and tossing them onto the counter. That did teach me something, even a vegetable deserves to be treated properly :). As just "one of those Carmody girl's" thank you for your faith and patience. You have surely earned your reward.
Anne Carmody Pugh SVA '84
Sr. Helen Marie, among those devoted and gentle guides we knew as teachers at our beloved St. Vincent's Academy, you were most sensitive and kind to all - even if you did religiously toss me out of religion class on my ear and send me downstairs to chapel!
I learned much from you. I went on to study at Loyola Institute of Ministry so that I could gain more knowledge for myself and in leadership of others. I know I would just not be half the person I am if not for you, the Daughters of the Cross, and all those in service to guide the rest of us in faith.
Thank you. Godspeed to you to share in the greatest love there is forever more.
One is struck by the life of this Sister even if you never met her. I can't help but to think at times Catholics of my age are really living off the work and Catholic patrimony that is the result of what Sr Helen Marie Mason and other like her did . I hope on our Judgment day we can tell the Lord that we did a tenth of what Sister Helen Marie did.
I guess also Helen Marie represents the last few (who knows maybe the last) of those Nuns of that Order that played such a critical role in the Louisiana Catholic Church in the 19th and 20th Century. Which sort of leaves me sad
Anyway RIP Sister, the Catholic Community as well as many others will recall you and hope to you again. I will keep your soul in my prayers during lent.
Here is her OBIT
Sr. Helen Marie
OPELOUSAS, LA - A Mass of the Resurrection will be held for Sr. Helen Marie Mason, MSC at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home Chapel in Opelousas. Burial will follow in St. Landry Cemetery, Opelousas, LA.
Sr. Helen Marie Mason, MSC (AKA Stella Josephine) was born March 2, 1919, in Shreveport, Louisiana. She died at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 9:30 AM, at the age of 92.
Devoted to her family, she was preceded in death by her father, Elijah Andrew Mason (Doyline, LA); and her mother, Annie Laurie Monk Mason (Homer, LA); her sisters, Annie Marie Mason Howard; and Peggy Ruth Elise Mason Crenshaw; and a brother, Patrick Norman Mason.
She is survived by her sister, Martha Lee Mason; and a brother, Wilbert Winstorn Mason of Shreveport; and by nieces and nephews in Louisiana and Texas.
She entered the Daughters of the Cross in June 1940, pronounced her first vows in February 1943, and her perpetual vows August 13, 1946. She received her BS degree from Saint Vincent's College in Shreveport; a Masters in Education in 1950 from St. Louis University and a Masters in Home Economics Education from St. Louis University in 1960. During her years of active ministry she shared her knowledge, innate intelligence, and expertise in English and Literature, religion, Latin, and Home Economics at schools in Shreveport, Marksville, and Monroe, Louisiana and as the Director of the Home Economics Program at St. Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was also the principal and president of St. Vincent Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana. After transferring to the Marianites of Holy Cross in June 1997, she ministered in the Development Office at Our Lady of Holy Cross College and at De La Salle High School in New Orleans and was involved in various other roles in community service. In each of her ministries, she was devoted to the liturgical life of the Church and was involved in all the activities of the school and community. She moved to Opelousas in 2005 and continued her sewing and needle work projects while bringing her gentle and faith-filled presence to each person she encountered. On the feast of St. Joseph and surrounded by her Marianite Sisters, she peacefully entered into eternal life.
A Wake service will be held on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home Chapel in Opelousas.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Sr. Helen Marie, MSC to the Marianites of Holy Cross, 1011 Gallier Street, New Orleans, LA., 70117.
Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at www.sibillefuneralhomes.com. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Sibille Funeral Home of Opelousas (337) 948-6523.