Soeur Hélène Marie Berson, MSC
Sister Hélène Marie Berson was born on July 19, 1921, in Saint Hilaire du Maine, in the Mayenne sector of France. Three older brothers welcomed her with joy.
When she was four years old, her suffering mother placed Hélène in an orphanage in Ernée, with the Sisters of Evron, where her religious aunt took care of her. Hélène remained there until she was 21 years old. When her aunt died, she was sent to the Laval hospital to look after the elderly.
She then went to live in Oisseau-le-Petit where she met our Marianite sisters, including Sister Jeanne d'Arc, whom she greatly appreciated. She felt called to religious life, "as our sisters live it!"
She entered the postulancy of the Marianites of Holy Cross on November 12, 1947 in Précigné. She received the habit April 14, 1948 and was given the name Sister Mary of Saint Denis. She was in the novitiate until her first vows were professed on November 11, 1949. After her time of religious training, she worked in the laundry of the Préventorium of Précigné, fulfilling this obedience with great attention. Hélène’s ministry caring for the children is what always brought her great joy.
From 1954 to 1957 she was assigned to be the coordinator of a specialized group at the Préventorium. Following this time she returned to the Mother House for three years to work in the laundry and then returned to the Préventorium until 1968.
From 1968 to 1974 she assisted in our communities of Tourneville and Pontvallain serving the elderly, sick and convalescent while also helping parishes with choirs for liturgy and teaching catechism.
In 1974, she arrived at Notre Dame de Gazonfier, Le Mans, to work with the people of the retirement home. She gaveof herself actively and happily! Hélène also cared for the cleanliness and daily set up of the chapel.
It was in 2002 that she came to the community of the elderly Marianite sisters at La Solitude to retire. She participated fully in the life of the community. She used her beautiful voice to sing during liturgy and morning and evening prayer. She was full of positive energy and good humor. She enjoyed knitting as her favorite craft. She was known to be very pleasant and grateful to the employees of the Solitude.
At the end of 2018, due to an injuring fall, Hélène was hospitalized for a hematoma. After a month in the hospital, the doctor discharged her because medically there was no further treatment that would heal her injury. Returning to the Solitude community brought her back to life. She began to speak again, found her joy, her smile and her gestures of affection: all a real gift to us. All day long, she prayed aloud, psalms and canticles.
But after two months, she lost her strength. The evening of April 22, she ate her last evening meal with us. In her sleep, during the night, she left us to live in the peace of our loving God. Now she sings with the angels!
The community gathered the next day, in the oratory, for an hour of prayer to give thanks for her generous life and entrusted her to the mercy of the Lord.
The funeral celebration took place Friday, April 26, 2019 presided by Father John de Riso, pastor of Holy Cross parish with Father Philippe Clement, friend of the community, in the chapel of the Solitude. The Marianite sisters and all the staff of the House accompanied her in her last days with great affection and fraternal prayers. She now rests in the Holy Cross Cemetery.
May God keep her in his love and his joy.