March 22, 1945 – July 31, 2022
Sister Helen Hart, CSJ, died on July 31, 2022 at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York. Sister Helen was 77 years old and had been a Sister of St Joseph of Carondelet for 58 years.
A Syracuse native, Sister Helen was the daughter of Helen Mertz and Cornelius Hart. She was the youngest of three children, joining older brothers Neil and Bill. After graduating from St. Brigid’s Academy, Helen entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Albany Province in September 1963, professing final vows in 1971. Her zeal and generosity were a perfect fit for the community, and she shared her gifts willingly, never looking back.
Sister Helen’s ministry was almost fully in the Diocese of Syracuse, where she served as teacher and principal in numerous schools, always with energy and creativity. The 1980s were a time of declining enrollment in Catholic Schools, but Sister Helen succeeded in stabilizing and increasing enrollment. She was then tapped to become director of development for Catholic schools, a position she held for four years. During her early years, Sister Helen also completed her B.A. degree from The College of Saint Rose in Albany and her M.S. from SUNY/Binghamton.
Sister Helen was a compassionate woman who reached out beyond the schools she led, welcoming anyone in need. She was a counselor, advocate and friend to multitudes. Her compassion was enlivened by a rich sense of humor that could invite an entire group into laughter. Her flexibility was legendary; she loved new endeavors. She advocated for animals as well as people, delighting in several pets.
Although Sister Helen was an energetic worker, she enjoyed travel and new experiences. A trip to Ireland with a dear cousin ranked high in her memories. She was devoted to her family, and they returned the affection. Her seven nieces and nephews gave her special joy, and she never forgot a birthday.
In 2005, a chance encounter brought Helen to Central New York Services in Syracuse, an organization committed to supporting and advocating for those in need. As their quality improvement specialist, Sister Helen spent the next 12 years reaching out to the civic community, using her experience and moving into the hearts of countless grateful individuals. She made friends everywhere; a colleague described her as “a woman for all seasons.”
Sister Helen is survived by her two brothers and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and close friends. She will be dearly missed by her devoted friends among the Sisters of St Joseph.
Due to continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Helen Hart. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet Shaker Rd., Latham, New York, 12110 or you can donate online.