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Sister Helena Turns 100

With Sr. Mary Catherine Doyle looking on, Sr. Margaret presents Sr. Helena with greetings from the Apostolic Nuncio in the name of the Pope, the Archbishop of Toronto, the Governor General, the Lieutenant Governor, the Premier of Ontario, the Mayor of Toronto and the President of the University of Toronto.

Sister Helena MaCarthy celebrated her 100th Birthday at Morrow Park surrounded by over 100 Sisters of her order and staff on the afternoon of Feb.5, 2006. The community room held a photo display comparing the world in 1906 to that of 2006 and showed Sr. Helena’s family and some of her own memorable moments. A long food table tempted participants. Sr. Helena took her place at end of the room, a balloon showing ‘100’ floating above her chair. A long line of Sisters wanting a private moment with her immediately formed.

Sr. Mary Catherine Doyle welcome people and reminisced, “Little did I know when I lived with her in 1962 and 1963 in Barrie that I would be living with her when she celebrated her 100th Birthday.”

General Superior Sr. Margaret Myatt expressed gratitude for Sr. Helena “for your life lived in Christ; for 100 years lived in your family; for 74 years lived as a Sister of St. Joseph… ” She offered the quote by Thomas Merton above to express what Sr. Helena has been doing all her life.

Sr. Margaret went on to name Sr. Helena’s accomplishments — 42 years in education and 17 years performing her ministry of hospitality at St. Michael’s Hospital. She said that all the Sisters would pray for her and ask that she pray for them to age as “generously and graciously, as filled with concern for our congregation, our church and our world” as Sr. Helena has done.

Sr. Helena then spoke, grateful in her turn for the organizers of this party and for the graciousness of both the Sisters and staff of Morrow Park. She had this to say, “… perhaps the last decade has been the most life-giving and fulfilling of all. No — I am not wishing you to be blind or handicapped. But our faithful God with His gifts of love and forgiveness is indeed compassionate and true to His promises. You are a revelation of God’s love to me…”

A cake was then wheeled in, the candles energetically blown out and the celebration continued.

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