Sister Helen Marie Schumacher, CSJ
Sister Helen Marie Schumacher, CSJ, (Sister John Berchmans) 93, died Friday, November 14, 2008, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham. Sister Helen had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 74 years.
Sister Helen Marie was born on February 22, 1915, in Syracuse, New York, daughter of the late John and Katherine Farrell Schumacher. After graduating from St. Lucy’s High School in Syracuse, Sister Helen entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph on March 19, 1934 and professed final vows on August 15, 1939. Sister Helen received a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in biology, both from The College of Saint Rose. In addition, she pursued post-graduate studies in physics and optics at Holy Cross College. For over 60 years, Sister Helen taught in schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses, including 27 years at St. Anthony’s School in Syracuse.
Sister Helen Marie was a woman of hospitality, a good listener, a faithful friend. Throughout her life as a Sister of St. Joseph, she was a prophetic voice with a clear vision of inclusivity and a deep reverence for all persons. An inspiring teacher, she encouraged her students to learn well and to use their education to forge a world of greater understanding. Sister Helen gave her life to living the Gospels with a strong commitment to the global cause of peace with justice. Wherever she lived and served, Sister Helen worked at creating a welcoming community. She will be dearly missed by many friends.
Sister Helen Marie is survived by many nieces, nephews, friends and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She was predeceased by two brothers: John and Robert Schumacher; by two sisters: Catherine Linck, and Adeline Holbrook; and by many friends in the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Consistent with her life of service, Sister Helen Marie was a participant in the Anatomical Gift Program at Albany Medical College and donated her remains for medical education and research. Her Memorial Mass was celebrated on Wednesday, November 19, in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. A prayer service honoring Sister Helen’s life was held at St. Joseph’s Provincial House on Tuesday, November 18. Contributions in Sister Helen’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.