Copyright 2013. The Sisters of Saint Gregory. All rights reserved.

Sister Helen Bernice Lovell, SSG February 26,1914 - September  27, 2017

Sr. Helen Bernice Lovell lived an extra-ordinary life. Not "extraordinary", but “Extra Ordinary”.  In many ways hers was a simple life punctuated by those events common to so many of us. She married, had children, was a book-keeper for a small company. After her husband’s premature death, she took over his leadership in the Civil Air Patrol and became a Lieutenant Colonel in that organization. She gardened, knitted, made wool braided rugs. There wasn’t a charitable organization in New Hampshire that didn’t benefit from her involvement. She was a woman of deep faith, a cradle Episcopalian who was a lay reader and Eucharistic visitor. When her parish church was without a regular priest, she literally kept the doors open, leading Morning Prayer many Sundays. She also graduated from New York Training School for Deaconesses at St John the Divine in New York City.

In 1993, her faith led her to an interview with members of the Brotherhood and Companion Sisterhood of Saint Gregory in a retreat center. She asked to be admitted to the Sisterhood. The group sent her out of the room and discussed her request. Was she too old for the rigors of formation at 79 years old? Would she even live long enough to be clothed as a novice or make her first Profession? Those assembled decided to take a risk, mostly based on both their prayerful consideration and her eager joy at becoming a member of such a community.

Well, that gamble paid off in grand ways for both the Sisters of Saint Gregory and Sr Helen. Helen brought her joy, solid faith and child-like excitement at being a Sister for nearly 25 years. She was Treasurer, a mentor to many postulants and novices and our de-facto Altar Guild. Her laugh was contagious. She charmed Boston cops, Amtrak conductors and transit workers, not to mention ,the Right Reverend Robert Hershfeldt, Bishop of New Hampshire, who not only fell in love with her at her town-wide 100th birthday but also demonstrated that love again as he presided at her funeral.

Sr. Helen Bernice was a saint. She embodied fully what Saint Catherine of Sienna said: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” Our dear sister did just that.

Serva Servorum Dei.

Soli Deo Gloria

Sister Elizabeth Mary Burke, SSG June 22, 1946 - April 30, 2009

A radiant presence. An unforgettable laugh. A force of nature. These are only a few of the phrases that have been used to describe Sr. Elizabeth Mary Burke, who entered into the Glory of God on April 30, 2009. She died in her sleep after a long illness, during which she was a lesson in love, faith, perseverance, and humor to all whom she encountered.

EM, as we often called her, was always the first to welcome a stranger as a friend, the first to come to the aid of those in crisis, the first to take on what needed to be done. Her immense enjoyment of life enhanced us all. And her faith inspired and encouraged us. It still does.

Sister Elizabeth Mary Burke earned a master’s degree in social work and was director of programs for a not-for-profit home care agency in New York City. In her home parish of Holy Trinity, South River, New Jersey, she was active in music, liturgy and outreach.  She mentored in the Education for Ministry program and worked with "Happening of New Jersey," a program to help teenagers have a deeper Christian experience.

Sr. Elizabeth Mary was also a member of the Order of Saint Luke, an Associate of the Community of Celebration and an Associate of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory. For many years she was an organizer and member of the board of the Finger Lakes Conference.

Serva Servorum Dei.