Sister Helen Gilbert Mann died at Saint Joseph Villa on November 8, 2022. Constance Eileen Mann was born August 16, 1924, to parents Gilbert and Helen Sullivan, the second of five daughters all of whom attended Holy Child School and Cecilian Academy. The girls learned from their prudent mother the hardships imposed on families by the Depression, an awareness that served Helen throughout life and rendered her compassionate for those in need and grateful for God’s providence whatever the circumstances.
Connie nurtured a call to religious life. After working two years at a local Five and Ten, she entered the Congregation in September 1942 and was received as a novice in April 1943 when she received the name Sister Helen Gilbert. Her assignments spanned several diocesan missions where she ministered as teacher, librarian and local coordinator. To have known Sister Helen Gilbert Mann was to experience her innate sense of acceptance, justice and cordiality toward all.
We will grow in love as we share our faith in Christ Jesus and communicate openly with one another. To this end we work to develop mutual trust, honesty, readiness to listen, to forgive and to be forgiven in a lifelong call to conversion of heart for the sake of the Reign of God. – Constitutions 49
Helen loved the Jersey shore. Hers was a happy, grateful response to her assignment to the Saint Joseph Community in Somers Point, NJ in July 2006. It was here that she found her most fulfilling ministry: visiting the sick in the hospital. Her compassion and deep prayer life enabled her to provide needed comfort and encouragement. Assigned to the ministry of prayer and presence at Saint Joseph Villa in 2013, her zest for loving service, offered with a kind word and comforting smile, significantly contributed to the mission of the Villa and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph: that all people be united with God and with one another. – Constitutions 16 Helen served as Eucharistic minister, was a member of the welcome committee for new residents, was ready and willing for whatever need arose.
Each morning, Helen placed her crucifix on her pillow and prayed, “You are all I desire in the land of the living.” To have lived those words through many years of selfless, prayerful, joyful service, renders confident hope that our dear Helen enjoys for all eternity: “Come, thou good and faithful servant, receive the reward for a life well-lived.”