Age 96, died in the Halifax Infirmary, QEII, Halifax on June 13, 2021. Born in Kentville, she was the daughter of the late James and Eva (Ryan) Balch. She entered the Sisters of Charity-Halifax in 1950 and made her First Profession in 1953. Sister Helen studied at Mack Business College in Kentville, where she received her Stenographer’s Diploma. Sister Helen was an alumnae of Mount Saint Vincent University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Sister began her ministry, teaching elementary school and music in New York then returned to teach in Halifax and Shad Bay. Sister Helen used her business training in the Financial and Secretarial offices at the Halifax Infirmary, Mount Saint Vincent DePaul Centre and Pax Provincial House. Throughout her life Sister Helen always made time beyond her ministries to care for the sick, elderly, poor and those marginalized by society. She served in pastoral ministry, tutored in adult literacy and was an active member of the Saint Vincent DePaul Society. Sister Helen was a beautiful poet. Many have been honoured to hear her recite her poems by memory with great enthusiasm and passion. Her most memorable piece titled “The Journey Home” was a well-loved favourite. Sister Helen was an avid joke teller and always had a new joke or riddle to share. She was especially grateful for the kindness of others, anyone visiting her or helping her in any way would be greeted with “well aren’t you kind”. In addition to her parents, Sister Helen was predeceased by her sisters, Emily Marks and Margorie McSweeney; and is survived by her nieces, Mary and Colleen McSweeney; and great niece, Jill McSweeney-Flaherty. A burial service will be held in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lower Sackville. Due to the Provincial COVID-19 restrictions, a Funeral Mass will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sisters of Charity Ministry Fund.
Rest in Peace, Sr. Helen Joseph. I believe you taught the 1st Grade class on the opposite side of that 1st floor partition, when I was on the other side, with Sr. Rita Margaret as my teacher. Of course, I am referring to St. Sebastian’s, school year 1954/55. Father Moran was our Pastor. On May 5th, 1956, I was in the very first First Communion Class to receive at the new church, which Father Moran had built from a movie theater.
I am glad that you lived a long life! Again, Rest in Peace!
I had Sister Helen Joseph as my second grade teacher in 1956 at St. Sebastian’s School in Woodside, NY. She was also my piano teacher for two years and was very kind and understanding when I explained that I didn’t have time to do my piano homework because playing baseball did not leave me enough time to practice the piano. Needless to say I didn’t make it to Carnegie Hall nor for that matter Yankee Stadium.
A truly incredible woman and teacher! A life well lived. RIP
Sister Helen Joseph taught my class at St. Sebastian’s Woodside Queens NY in second grade, 1957-8, and again in 5th grade 1960-1. In second grade she prepared us to receive the sacraments of Penance and first Holy Communion; then in 5th grade she prepared us to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. I remember her as a calm, tender, and patient influence, my favorite of all our teachers. Rest in Peace Sister Helen Joseph.
Sister Helen Joseph taught my class at St. Sebastian’s Woodside Queens NY in second grade, 1957-8, and again in 5th grade 1960-1. In second grade she prepared us to receive the sacraments of Penance and first Holy Communion; then in 5th grade she prepared us to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. I remember her as a calm, tender, and patient influence, my favorite of all our teachers. Rest in Peace Sister Helen Joseph Balch.