Sister Mary Helen

Sister Mary Helen                  ND  3759                      PDF Download
(formerly Sister Mary Leanette)

Christ the King Province, Chardon, Ohio, USA

Date and Place of Birth:      May 27, 1920            Cleveland, Ohio
Date and Place of Profession:    August 16, 1941       Cleveland, Ohio
Date and Place of Death:             May 16, 2017            Health Care Center, Chardon, Ohio
Date and Place of Funeral:          May 23, 2017     Provincial Center, Chardon, Ohio
Date and Place of Burial:             May 23, 2017            Resurrection Cemetery, Chardon, Ohio

Whatever Jesus wants! 

Helen was the eldest of the four children born to Adam and Veronica Baluha Chasar when her big sister died at age three. After the death of her father when she was just seven, Helen’s uncle helped to relocate the family near St. Benedict Parish, Cleveland. These were happy days. The children learned love for life, for each other and for their faith. “My spiritual formation began at the cradle by my good mother. Witnessing the faith she lived gave me a deep appreciation for prayer, love for Christ, Mary and the Church.” Helen was drawn to religious life after reading a book initially meant for a friend. She transferred to Notre Dame Academy for her senior year. After graduation in 1938, Helen entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on September 8 and at investment received the name Sister Mary Leanette. Later, she returned to her baptismal name and became Sister Mary Helen.

To prepare for ministry in elementary education, Sister Mary Helen received a bachelor’s degree from St. John College in Cleveland and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. Her involvement with parents, teachers and children, especially in the primary grades, spanned sixty-seven years. Sister was teacher, principal, catechist, tutor and aide; she ministered at schools in Ohio, Virginia and Florida. She had an innate respect for younger children and considered it a privilege to share God’s goodness and love with them. Through supervising and working with beginning teachers, Sister gained new insights and discovered a variety of activities that would help the children receive God’s message of love.

During the years when she ministered in the classroom as teacher, tutor or aide, Sister Mary Helen created teaching materials, assisted the editor of Mine magazine (a periodical then published for children in the primary grades). She also contributed to the revision of the Christ Our Life religion series and took advantage of many opportunities to deepen her spiritual life.

When she returned to the Provincial Center in 2003, Sister continued to be a woman on mission. She assisted as a classroom aide, answered the phone for the prayer line, made crafts for the community boutique and devoted much time to the ministry of prayer, presence and praise. She was young at heart, a great conversationalist who recognized the good in everyone – always interested in and attentive to others. Her contagious smile endeared her to all. Sister was well known for the unique computer-made greeting cards she created and sent regularly to acknowledge special days celebrated by her family, friends and sisters. Even as her physical condition declined, Sister remained faithful to her prayer, especially the rosary. She remarked, “I can only pray, eat and sleep. But whatever Jesus wants….”

May Sister Mary Helen rejoice in the new life the presence of her beloved Jesus will bring.