Suzanne (Irene) Helmin, OSB

Sister Suzanne (Irene) Helmin, OSB (99)

St. Joseph

April 1, 1912- August 11, 2011

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, August 15, 2011, at Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, for

Sister Suzanne (Irene) Helmin, who died on August 11, 2011, at Saint Scholastica Convent in St. Cloud. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Sunday, August 14, from 1-6 p.m. or for a Prayer Vigil at 7 p.m. at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the funeral on Monday, August 15 at 10:30 a.m.

S. Suzanne was born April 1, 1912, to Casimir and Catherine (Levandowski) Helmin on a farm near Gilman, Minn. She came to Saint Benedict’s Monastery on August 27, 1926, entered the novitiate on June 15, 1930, made first monastic profession July 11, 1931, and perpetual profession on July 11, 1934. She celebrated her 80th jubilee this year.

After graduating from St. Adalbert’s School in Gilman and St. Benedict’s High School, she went on to receive a BA degree in elementary education from the College of Saint Benedict. Further study was done at the St. Paul Diocesan Teachers College and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

The 38 years spent teaching lower grades in parish schools took her to Sobieski, St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud, Browerville, Cold Spring and Pierz. At times, she was also in charge of the local convent. Not only was she an outstanding teacher, but her gentle manner and warmth endeared her to each child, their parents and fellow teachers. Through the years, many of her former students, themselves grown old, visited her.

On retiring from teaching, S. Suzanne served at Saint Benedict’s Monastery as community life coordinator, health center director, coordinator for retirement and chapel sacristan. For 21 years—from 1983 to 2004, she volunteered in the Spiritual Care Department of St. Cloud Hospital. She was hostess at Art and Heritage Place, assisted with mailings and regularly visited Sisters at Saint Scholastica Convent. S. Suzanne had a wonderful memory and excellent health for her 99 years. Her joyful, loving spirit and ability to listen made her a friend to all. In the last years of her life, she said, she felt a great sense of love for all those she encountered. “I look around and I just don’t see faults,” she said. “I feel free.” To see a video interview with S. Suzanne, click here.

S. Suzanne is survived by her Benedictine community, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Preceding her in death were her parents, brothers (Adam, Clem, Leo, Isadore and Gregory) and sisters (Anna Wojciechowski, Pauline Cielenski and Helen Cielenski).

For an additional video on S. Suzanne’s childhood, click here.

For a video on her ministry life, click here.

Please direct memorial gifts to Saint Benedict’s Monastery for the care of our elderly Sisters.