Sister Francis Helen, registered nurse

November 30, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Sister Francis Helen Lewandowski, a member of the Sisters of Bon Secours and a retired registered nurse, died of undetermined causes Nov. 17 at her order's provincial house in Marriottsville.

She had celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year.

Anna Elinor Lewandowski was born and raised in Baltimore. She was an Eastern High School graduate and earned her nursing degree from St. Agnes Hospital School of Nursing.

Sister Helen Francis entered the Sisters of Bon Secours in 1934 and professed her vows in 1937. She was an operating room nurse at Bon Secours Hospital from 1937 to 1950, when she became an operating room nurse at Bon Secours Hospital in Methuen, Mass.

While in Methuen, Sister Helen Francis became a vocation advocate and the author of "Call of the Sick." In 1956, she became a school nurse at J. W. Hallahan Catholic High School in Philadelphia.

Sister Helen later held nursing and administrative assignments in Grosse Point, Mich., and in Richmond, Va. During the 1970s, she was superior and a member of the Provincial Council of the St. Francis Country House in Darby, Pa.

From 1981 to 1982, she was a pastoral assistant at Villa Maria in Miami, until being transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Va., where she remained until retiring in 2005.

Since 2005, she had been a resident of the provincial house.

"A strong woman, determined and gifted, Sister Francis Helen will be remembered by many because of the ways she touched others' lives - whether she was serving as a nurse, department head, administrator, sister visitor or chaplain," said Sister Alice M. Talone, current president of the Sisters of Bon Secours, USA.

A Mass of Christian burial was held Nov. 20 at the provincial house.

Surviving are many nieces and nephews.

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