Sister Mary Cyrilla
December 18, 2022
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Mary Ann Hellman
Immaculate Conception Province, Chardon, USA
Date and Place of Birth: December 11, 1922 Delphos, Ohio
Date and Place of Profession: August 10, 1943 Toledo, Ohio
Date and Place of Death: December 12, 2022 Oregon, Ohio
Date and Place of Funeral: December 15, 2022 Whitehouse, Ohio
Sister Mary Cyrilla Hellman was a woman of extraordinary wit, talent, and vision, who lived her life in seemingly ordinary but highly effective ways. A century of generous community spirit, creative work to benefit others, and life-giving friendships proved her dynamic, evangelizing spirit. Celebrating her 100th birthday with a small party, Sister claimed she was ready for her last journey, occurring that very night.
Baptized Mary Ann, she was the fourth of six girls born to Otto and Cecilia (Elwer) Hellman. Graduating from Delphos St. John High School in 1940, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1941. Sister’s specialty was education for which she obtained a master’s degree in Special Education from Catholic University of America. She was a skilled teacher, principal, education consultant of children, kindergarten through grade 5 for 60 years. Seeing her expertise, the Diocese of Toledo asked her to be the supervisor for schools from 1965 to 1970. She also served as community consultant for the Sisters of Notre Dame and was the founding principal of the newly established Lial School in Whitehouse, Ohio in 1975.
No matter the assigned ministry, Sister always aimed for more. Besides her assigned teaching, she became a speech therapist, an advocate at Kinder CASA Board, and a member of Mayor’s Committee for Spanish Services in Norwalk. While teaching at St. Paul Elementary School in Norwalk (1984-2002), she performed pastoral ministry toward the sick in the parish, which eventually became full-time parish ministry in 2002. Until she left Norwalk in 2009, Sister was a GED instructor as part of her ministry to inmates at Huron County Jail. For her dedication in Norwalk, the parishioners gifted her with a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Volunteer work in hospital and prison ministry continued in Toledo for six more years.
Eventually needing more nursing care, she moved into nursing centers. Sister would pedal her feet, rolling her wheelchair to visit other residents with whom she shared her faith and prayer. The family of one resident even “adopted” Sister into their family and created a framed “certificate” of the “adoption,” which became one of Sister’s most prized possessions.
Sister Mary Cyrilla made it known that she wanted to live to be 100. When it looked like that was going to happen, she asked that December 11 be observed simply. That evening she went to sleep not knowing that our Good and Gracious God who honored her wish to live on this earth for 100 years would come and take her in his arms. May she sing God’s praises for all eternity.