Continuing to Serve: S. Helen Berson
By Megan Simmermeyer, Communications co-op
Sister of Charity Helen Berson began her ministry as a professional in the healthcare field, but eventually found her way to finance. When she retired from full-time ministry on June 30, 2012, she remained in the financial field as a volunteer.
Currently, S. Helen is the administrator of the Sisters of Charity Charitable Trust, which provides financial assistance for Sisters who are retired. There are different levels of assistance available through the trust, and levels are checked monthly to ensure that each Sister is at the proper level. S. Helen also prepares materials for and attends the biannual meetings of the Trustees.
Initially S. Helen ministered as a pharmacist for 36 years. In 1997 S. Roslyn Hafertepe asked her to join the Sisters of Charity Finance Office at the Motherhouse. S. Helen refers to her time in finance as her “second career.” “I was always good at math,” she says, “and everyone knew it.”
In the Finance Office, she focused on material relevant to the Sisters, such as budgets, insurance, taxes, etc. She worked with the late S. Grace Murphy for a time, and though her background was in health sciences, S. Helen said S. Grace taught her a lot about finance, enabling her to adapt to her new career. S. Helen’s success within the Finance Office paved the way for her continued ministry with the Charitable Trust.
Having enjoyed almost six years in her current ministry, S. Helen finds that she continues to appreciate her role. Some days are busier than others, such as when she prepares for the biannual Trustee meetings, but her greatest joy is the ability to connect with the Sisters.
In addition to her Charitable Trust ministry, she weekly cantors for Mass in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity, and occasionally in the Motherhouse chapel. Before coming to the Motherhouse, S. Helen sang in her parish’s choir for 25 years. The Sisters enjoy her singing, and S. Helen says she is glad to bring that joy and hopes she still can for a while.
Now, as she works more directly with the Community, she recalls her familial saying, “Charity begins at home.” For S. Helen, so do love and caring, and she has brought that mentality to all her roles, both as an active, working Sister, and now in her volunteer ministries. S. Helen continues to develop friendships with the Sisters she meets and does what she can to make their lives better.