Sister Helen Callahan, CSJ

Sister Helen Callahan, CSJ

(Sr. Leo Francis)

October 21, 1930 – June 4,  2023

 We Remember Her
In the opening of the buds and in the
rebirth of spring.


“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

When I think of Helen Callahan, the first word that comes to me is gracious. Google defines this as “marked by kindness and courtesy, generosity of spirit. Scripture says, “God’s response is to call God own self “gracious.” Helen is in good company.

This gracious woman was born in 1930 to Jeremiah Callahan and Mary Driscoll Callahan.  She grew up in Quincy with her brothers John and Leo, and her sister Mary, to whom she was devoted. 

This strong and gentle woman was a seeker, who valued new experiences and ways of thinking.  She first served at Immaculate Conception, Winchester, and Immaculate Conception East Weymouth as an elementary teacher. For 17 years, she ministered at Boston School for the Deaf as a teacher, principal, and counselor. She also served as a tireless advocate for the educational, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the students there. After receiving her counseling degree, Helen brought her skills to minister to those struggling with alcoholism, grief, depression and other life issues. Her varied ministries served diverse populations, many on the margins, who benefited from her wisdom, compassion, listening presence, and determined advocacy!

As Sisters of St. Joseph, we say, “Relationship is at the heart of mission.” Our God is a God of relationship – love being the center, giving and receiving, mutuality, and belonging. All of Helen’s life is marked by strong relationships. She had a close friendship with her siblings, whom she cherished. She was loyal and dedicated to the Congregation, and to her life among us. She was a devoted member and leader, a faithful presence to the communities with whom she shared life, and a treasured long-time friend to those in her party.  Her niece and nephew, and their children were known to those close to her because of the pride with which she spoke of them. Relationship was at the heart of Helen’s life.

Helen believed in lifelong learning and ongoing faith development.  In her later years, she found great meaning and fulfillment in appreciating the God of the universe, the connection of all life in God.  The deepening and expansion of her faith was a gift of her later years.

I’ve heard it said that at the end of our days, God will ask two questions, “Have you learned much?  Have you loved well?”

In her life of openness to new learnings and experiences, and loving deeply in her ministries and in her personal life, Helen could respond to God’s question with a resounding yes!

Helen, gracious woman, pure of heart, you now see the face of God.