Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Helen Leclerc, CSJ

Sister Helen Leclerc, CSJ, 78, died Thursday, December 17, 2020 at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany. She had been a Sister for 61 years: a Sister of Charity of St. Louis for 22 years and a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 39 years.

Sister Helen, baptized Helen Marie Ange Leclerc, was born on March 18, 1942, in Saint-Théophile, Lévis, Québec, daughter of the late Odilon and Germaine Boutin Leclerc. After attending parochial schools in Saint-Théophile, Sister Helen entered the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis on August 26, 1959. She received her education as a licensed practical nurse at Windham Regional Technical School in Willimantic, Connecticut; her diploma as a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Elmira, NY; and her bachelor of science degree in nursing from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, NY.

Sister Helen began her ministry as a teacher assistant and student teacher in Redford, NY, and Plattsburgh, NY, and began her studies for nursing. She worked as a staff nurse at two hospitals in Plattsburgh. In 1981, Sister Helen canonically transferred her perpetual vows to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

After her transfer of vows, Sister Helen worked as a registered nurse and nursing supervisor at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, NY, served as a visiting nurse and supervising nurse/program director in Schoharie County and later as a chaplain at Glens Falls Hospital. In 2004, Sister Helen became a seamstress at St. Joseph’s Provincial House where she used the skills she learned from her mother to make beautiful custom curtains and drapes for all the various size rooms at the Provincial House.

Sister Helen was a kind, gentle woman of faith whose focus was on God, her family and her community. Ever generous with her many gifts of nature and grace, she was a caring, compassionate and respectful nurse who was committed to ongoing learning and dedicated to patient advocacy.

In addition, Sister Helen was an accomplished seamstress, tailor, dressmaker and upholsterer, and she was extremely generous in sharing her talents. Whether it was altering a hemline or sewing on a button or repairing a broken zipper or literally creating a new dress design or tailoring a coat or reupholstering an armchair, Sister Helen was a detail-oriented, knowledgeable and patient artist! Nothing pleased her more than embroidering elegant table linens or a personalized baby blanket or even an ancestry tree for gifts on special family occasions.

Like St. Joseph, our patron, Sister Helen preferred to stay in the background, humble, reliable and hard-working; and like St. Joseph whose unpretentious, steady faithfulness earned him an incomparable role in salvation history, so has Sister Helen’s devoted, unassuming and generous service to God’s people earned her a unique role in the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph. We will miss her dearly.

Sister Helen is survived by her beloved family, all in Canada: her brothers, Paul-Emile, Germain, Gerard, Benoit, Roger, Real and Georges; her sisters, Anita Houle, Marguerite Leclerc, Cecile Leclerc, Marie-Ange Jolin and Madeleine Larochelle; many nieces and nephews and their families; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, Sister Helen was predeceased by her brothers, Joseph, Rosaire and Eugene Leclerc; and her sisters, Therese and Gisele Leclerc.

Due to the continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public funeral services for Sister Helen at this time. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date.