Sr. Helen Marie Mason
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 3, 1919, Sister Helen Marie was the daughter of Elijah Andrew Mason of Doyline and Annie Laurie Monk of Homer, Louisiana. Baptized “Stella Josephine”, she was one of six children whom the Masons raised with loving care.
Entering the Daughters of the Cross in June 1940, Sister pronounced her first vows in February of 1943 and made perpetual profession on August 13, 1946. Along with several of her congregation, Sister transferred to the Marianites of Holy Cross in June 1997.
A talented and knowledgeable individual, Sister earned her bachelor’s degree from Saint Vincent’s College in Shreveport, a Masters in Education from St. Louis University in 1950, and a Masters in Home Economics Education from St. Louis University in 1960.
During her years of active ministry, Sister Helen Marie shared her innate intelligence, knowledge and expertise in English, literature, Latin, religion and home economics at schools in Shreveport, Marksville and Monroe, Louisiana. She spent almost forty years at St. Vincent Academy in Shreveport, first as teacher, then as principal, and later as library assistant while also performing community service.
After she earned her master’s degree in home economics education, Sr. Helen Marie served as Director of the Home Economics program at St. Louis University from 1964 – 1970.
Following her transfer to the Marianites, Sister ministered in the Development Office at Our Lady of Holy Cross College and then at De La Salle High School in New Orleans. In each of her assignments, Sister remained devoted to the liturgical life of the Church and was involved in all the activities of the school and community.
After Hurricane Katrina, Helen Marie moved to the new convent in Opelousas and continued her sewing and needlework projects while bringing her gentle and faith-filled presence to each person she encountered.
An unexpected fall and failing health prompted Sister’s move from the convent to Prompt Succor Nursing Home in 2009. There she devoted her time to prayer and attention to others. When in February she began to experience digestive and electrolyte problems, Sister spent a few days at Opelousas General Hospital before returning to the nursing home where she would prepare for her final homecoming.
On March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, at about 9:30 a.m. Sister Helen Marie peacefully entered into eternal life. A wake service was held prior to the funeral Mass celebrated in the chapel of Prompt Succor Nursing Home on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
Prior to the Mass, a time was spent sharing memories of Sister’s life. Attending the liturgy were several members of the family and a number of Marianite sisters and friends. Burial was in St. Landry Cemetery in Opelousas, Louisiana.
Preceded in death by her parents and by three of her siblings, Sister Helen Marie is survived by Martha Lee Mason, her sister, by her brother, Wilbert Winston Mason, and by a number of nieces and nephews.
May Sister Helen Marie’s soul rest in peace.