Sister Helene Nagle, beloved Sister of St. Joseph for 57 years, passes away
St. Ann Church mourns sudden loss
CHARLOTTE — A beloved Sister of St. Joseph and member of the St. Ann Church family, Sister Helene Nagle, SSJ, passed away suddenly June 9, 2012. Sister Helene, 76, served as the principal of St. Ann School for 17 years. She remained active at the parish, serving as the stewardship coordinator, while continuing to work in faith formation with the parish and school children.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14, at St. Ann Church.
Sister Helene, who grew up in Philadelphia where the Sisters of St. Joseph's motherhouse is located, knew the sisters well. Her father was one of the volunteers who drove the sisters around back in those days. Eventually Sister Helene became a driver for them as well.
Sister Helene was a Sister of St. Joseph for 57 years. She pronounced her first vows on Aug. 12, 1957 and her final vows on Aug. 12, 1962. In addition to her bachelor's degree from Chestnut Hill College in music and elementary education, she earned a master's degree in educational administration at Catholic University of America and a master's degree in counseling and psychology from Chestnut Hill as well.
She served in parishes in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as Vienna, Va., teaching in the Catholic schools there. She became principal of her old high school in Philadelphia and a school in Washington, D.C.
Sister Helene came to the Diocese of Charlotte in 1989, where she taught at St. Leo School before she moved to St. Ann School to become principal in 1991. She retired from St. Ann School in 2008 but still helped the students, especially on Friday mornings, to prepare for their participation at Mass at St. Ann Church.
She was a dedicated teacher whose spirituality and sense of humor helped her to lead and inspire all those around her. She was affectionately known as "Sister Honey," a nickname that matched her sweet, compassionate and fun personality.
Sister Helene continued to live her vocation as a Sister of St. Joseph by helping the poor and marginalized in the community. She went on missions to Jamaica and Uganda and lived her community's call to "consider first the dear neighbor" daily in her service to the Church.
In an article on vocations for the Catholic News Herald in 2010, Sister Helene shared that she was drawn to the simplicity, humility and charity exemplified by her order.
She fondly recalled the sisters: "I found they were real people, called in a special way. I knew when I entered I belonged," she said.
She and Sister Judy Monahan, SSJ, lived together in Charlotte for more than 22 years, serving the people of the Diocese of Charlotte.
Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Villa, 110 West Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, Pa., 19031-1898.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Sister Helene was featured in the May 28, 2010, edition of the Catholic News Herald:
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