Thursday, April 7, 2011

Daughter of Charity Jokester Goes to God

Sr. Helen Marie Palermo, DC died at the age of 101 on March 30th.  She had only been in retirement for 5 years!  That remebrances of her said, "Sister Helen Marie is remembered as a jokester with a sense of humor.  Her 4 foot 10 inch frame made her 'a bundle of joy'.  She was a devoted servant of God and showed her praise through her music and songs.  True to her mission and the spirit of the Daughters of Charity, Sister Helen Marie lived simply and joyfully."

Sr. Helen Marie taught for 38 years from primary students up to high school.  She then went into pastoral care ministry for the next 37 years.  Can you imagine that!  She retired to Emmitsburg at age 96.  The photo above is from her 80th jubilee (anniversary) in 2009.

Since I just had my 43rd birthday, it is a challenge to imagine having my 80th jubilee let alone birthday!  Sr. Helen Marie is such a good model of the fruit of faith, prayer, love and service--with a good dose of humor too!  So lessons I learned from Sr. Helen Marie--

1. Be faithful to prayer and reflection on my own and with my community
2. Treasure the people with whom I work
3. Keep my love for community fresh
4. Use humor to bring joy to every day things and to keep things in perspective
5. Enjoy music to keep a spring in one's step
6. Eat plain chicken in your older years to help you live to be 101!

Sometimes I get wrapped up in what needs to be done.  Sr. Helen Marie's life reminds me that there is much joy to find with people if I don't get my nose stuck in my "to-do"list.  Thanks, Sr. Helen Marie, for the beauty of the life you lived and the smiles that come to our faces when we think of you!

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