February 4, 1935 - December 4, 2017
Sister Mary Helen Fuhrmann, 82, died on December 4, 2017.
Sister Mary Helen Fuhrmann (nee Maria Agatha) was born in Lindsay, Texas. She was educated by the Sisters of Divine Providence and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Mary in 1956. Sister earned her B.A. degree in Elementary Education at the University of Dallas, her Master of Arts degree in Education at Texas Women’s University, and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Mercy Center, Colorado Springs, CO.
Sister Mary Helen began her professional career teaching at St. Mary’s School in Fort Worth for two years, after which she went to St. Xavier Academy in Denison for three years. For the following six years, Sister taught at St. Mary’s School in Sherman — the last two of those years serving also as Principal. From there, Sister moved to Wichita Falls where she was Principal for nine years at Our Lady Queen of Peace School, whose name changed to Notre Dame Elementary School in 1976. Then Sister moved to Fort Worth where she served as Principal of St. Peter’s School for ten years. After completing thirty years in teaching and administration, Sister Mary Helen readied herself for whatever would be asked of her.
Sister Mary Helen participated in a Sabbatical semester in Human Development at Sangre de Cristo in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then attended Notre Dame University at the Center for Continuing Formation in Ministry. The following year, Sister became the Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s Parish in Gainesville, TX where she remained for 19 years. Well prepared, Sister became the Director of Religious Education, Director of the RCIA, and the Liturgy Coordinator. Sister’s pastoral work brought her into contact with many persons who needed assistance in presenting marriage cases for annulment. Willingly, Sister trained as an Advocate for the Marriage Tribunal and soon found that to be a major part of her ministry. Because numerous pastors came and went during her time at St. Mary’s, Sister was able to provide a sense of continuity in the parish she loved so much.
Beginning in 1990, Sister served many years on the Provincial Council, sometimes as a Provincial Councilor, and sometimes also as Provincial Secretary. Altogether, she worked in these administrative positions for some 13 years.
Reluctant to leave pastoral work, Sister Mary Helen graciously agreed in 2011 to serve as Coordinator at OLV Retirement Center, where she exemplifies the St. Mary charism of hospitality. In addition to her regular duties, Sister Mary Helen has become an expert on the computer, producing artistic greeting cards for birthdays and other festive occasions.