Sister Helen O'Donnell, age 94, formerly Sister Mary Cephas, died peacefully on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at McAuley Hall Health Care Center in Watchung, New Jersey.
Sister Helen was born to Joseph and Margaret O'Donnell in 1923. As a child in St. Anthony School in Trenton, she was drawn to religious life. When she went to Cathedral High School, she realized that her vocation was to the Sisters of Mercy and the ministry of teaching. She entered the community in 1942, took the name Sister Mary Cephas and professed her final vows in 1948.
Sister began teaching in the primary grades in schools in the Trenton and Metuchen dioceses: St. Mary School, South Amboy; St. Mary School, Perth Amboy; St. Mary School, Bordentown; St. Joseph School, Bound Brook and St. Joseph School, North Plainfield. In 1958, she was assigned to Holy Spirit High School in Atlantic City where she taught business courses after receiving an MA degree at Catholic University. In 1964, she was assigned to St Mary High School in South Amboy where she continued to teach business courses until 1979. She was a popular and successful teacher, gifted with a keen sense of humor and a desire to share the technical and organizational skills her students would need when they graduated from High School.
In 1979, Sister returned to Mount St. Mary to teach business courses at the Academy and later, to serve in several administrative support roles. She had the great satisfaction of establishing an attendance office with completely computerized records including progress reports and report cards. Sister was one of the first sisters to live in the retired community at Gabriel Hall before moving to McAuley Hall Health Care Center.
She is predeceased by he sister, Mary Kathleen O'Donnell and her brother ans sister-in-law, William and Josephine O'Donnell.
Sister Helen is survived by nieces and nephews; Pattie O'Donnell, Kathleen Bilancio (Sandy) , Karen Weidenbach (husband,the late John), Teresa O'Donnell, Joseph O'Donnell(wife, Lyn) and dear friend Barbara Giori and many Sisters of Mercy.
Visitation will take place: Saturday, April 7, 2018, McAuley Hall Health Care Center, Watchung, NJ, 1633 Highway 22 Wake: 9:00 - 10:45 am Welcome Home Service: 10:00 am Mass of Christian Burial: 10:45 am Burial: Holy Redeemer Cemetery, S. Plainfield.
Memorial donations may be made to Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community, 1645 US Highway 22 West, Watchung, NJ 07069.