Sister Elizabeth Anne Heller

Sister Elizabeth Ann Heller entered eternal life on February 23, 2024 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania.  Her funeral Mass was offered by Father David Devlin at Saint Joseph Villa on February 29, 2024.

Betty lived with her parents Frank and Marie and her brother Frank in Saint Rose of Lima Parish in West Philadelphia where she attended Grade School.  She then enrolled and graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls.  In addition to the home in Philadelphia, the family also owned a home in North Wildwood.  They spent many happy years between the two homes.  It has been said that Betty and her brother Frank knew every animal in  the neighborhood—and its owner!

After graduating from West Catholic in 1951 Betty entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Chestnut Hill.  She received the habit of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the religious name of Sister Marian Francis.  In the first twenty years of her ministry Betty taught in ten different parish schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as the Dioceses of Harrisburg and Trenton, New Jersey.  The next twenty years she ministered in high schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia—Hallahan where she proudly wore her “West is Best” pin, and also at Maria Goretti and Archbishop Prendergast.

Betty loved being of service and helping anyone she saw who needed help.  Students in high school and grade school enjoyed field trips which often became adventures.  Children loved her and would sometimes ring the convent doorbell and ask if she would come out to play—even to go sledding with them!  One time, while sledding (as the story goes) her veil got caught under the runner, and ripped.  She frantically tried to get it sewn before the Mother Superior saw it!

Betty’s nephew-in-law, Fran Foster who offered words of remembrance on behalf of the family spoke of Betty’s strong calling to serve any creature who needed help—family member, neighbor, student, friend, animal.  When Betty was 60 years old, her mother was in her middle 90’s.  Betty asked to take a leave of absence to care for her mom.  Sister Karen Dietrich reflected that while Betty was caring for her mother they would enjoy their Philly home and their shore home.  At that time Betty also wrote a newsletter that gave helpful hints to other sisters caring for aging parents about acquiring medical supplies and care.

Sister Karen commented, “There is no doubt that Betty had a huge and loving heart. . . that she loved HOME and her family and the  beach.  When she entered the congregation, St. Mary’s in Cape May Point became her third home in the summer.  Betty loved the great outdoors and all creatures great and small.  And there’s a tenderness that those images conjure up.  Betty Heller loved! Sister Karen concluded her reflection with the words “We celebrate your new life, Elizabeth  Ann Heller! 90 years ago God gave you to the world to LOVE God’s people and creatures!  We send you now on your way!  We rejoice that you are at rest in God’s arms and with all those whom you loved. . . your dear family and all the saints of God who surely were there  to welcome you home!  Remember us. . . pray for us. . . our dear sister, Betty!”