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Sr. Helen Mary Riordan, FMM (Sr. Mary Benedicta)
Sr. Helen Mary Riordan, Franciscan Missionary of Mary, died on February 12, 2019 at St. Antoine Residence, North Smithfield. Sr. Helen Mary was born in Newport, Kentucky, the fourth of six children, on September 23, 1926. First attracted to religious life by the good example of the Sisters of Charity in her Grade School, in high school she read a book about the FMM, which spoke about their mission and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Helen felt drawn to them and made contact with them later at St. Anthony’s Parish, Cincinnati.
Helen Mary entered the FMM at Fruit Hill, December 12, 1946 and received the habit, June 13, 1947. After she made her First Vows June 13, 1949, she was missioned to our community in Brighton, MA to study nursing at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. After receiving her RN in 1952, Helen returned to Fruit Hill for her Final Vows on June 13. Then she was sent on mission to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn as Nursing Supervisor until 1953.
Helen was then missioned to study for her BS in Nursing at Boston College from 1953, graduating in 1955. She returned then to Roslyn and worked in Nursing and Central Supply until 1961. These same tasks were assigned to her at Kennedy Memorial Hospital (now known as Franciscan Children’s) until 1971. Helen’s next mission was at the FMM Infirmary at Fruit Hill where she also served as receptionist and studied art and typing in Fall River. From 1978 to 1980 she was receptionist at St. Francis Convent until 2007. At that time, Helen was missioned to Our Lady of Peace Community at Fruit Hill and then in 2014 to Ein Karim Community in N. Smithfield where she resided at St. Antoine’s Residence.
Helen was a gifted artist and one of her paintings of Our Lady of Guadalupe graces a wall at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn. A very gentle person, Helen was always very prayerful with great love for adoration. She inspired others with her qualities.
Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, February 19 at 11:00 am in Holy Family Chapel, 399 Fruit Hill Avenue, North Providence, RI 02911. Visiting hours will be held on Monday, February 18 from 4 to 8 pm, with a wake service beginning at 7 pm in the same chapel.