Sister Joyce Holden, 60, high school nurse

August 14, 2005

Sister Joyce Holden, a sister of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart who worked as a nurse at Seton Keough High School for 14 years, died Tuesday of breast cancer at the Mercy Mission Helper Villa in Towson. The Towson resident was 60.

Sister Joyce, known by the nickname "Birdie," grew up in the Irvington neighborhood of Baltimore and graduated from Seton High School before it merged with Archbishop Keough High School.

She earned an associate's degree in nursing and worked as a public health nurse for the city of Baltimore. She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

She joined the Mission Helpers in 1982 after spending an affiliate year with the order and went on to earn her master's degree in religious studies from Fordham University in New York.

She professed her vows in 1991 and took a position that year as a school nurse at Seton Keough.

"She had such a tremendous impact on the students," said her brother, Henry R. Holden of Catonsville. He said she had a positive relationship with the students, and was respected and loved.

Sister Joyce was a self-taught guitarist and singer who performed at weddings, baptisms, funerals and parties.

She also enjoyed traveling to Hawaii, England and Ireland, and spending time at the beach.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Friday.

Sister Joyce is survived by two other brothers, David R. Holden of Carney and Timothy J. Holden of Charlotte, N.C.; and a sister, Valerie A. Schmale of Arbutus.

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