Sister Helen Julie Monroe, SNDdeN, went peacefully home to her Good God on Monday January 25, 2021 at Notre Dame Long Term Care Center in Worcester. She was born Virginia M. Monroe in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1926 to parents Carleton A. and Helen M. (Marley) Monroe, soon joined by her only brother, the late Robert J. Monroe.
After graduating from St. Mary's H.S. in Beverly, then working at Sylvania in Peabody and the United Shoe in Beverly during the war, Virginia entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1949 at Waltham, taking her first vows in 1951 and final vows in 1956. She earned a degree in History and Education from Emmanuel College in 1961.
Sister Helen Julie spent more than twenty happy years teaching elementary school students in Hudson, East Hartford, Peabody, Woburn, Lowell, Danvers, and Marblehead, and "loved every minute of it." Then she served as the longtime School Secretary at St. Gregory's in Dorchester, her "Dream Job." In her later years she worked for the Council on Aging in Beverly, bringing hot meals and Holy Communion to the elderly until well into her eighties.
Sister Helen, or "Gussie" as she was known to all, had a quick wit, a raucous laugh, a great gusto for life, and a gift for making friends wherever she went. She adored her brother Bobby, whose sense of humor she shared. They loved the Red Sox, Patriots, Notre Dame football, and sitting by the water at Lynch Park or Dane Street Beach. Her family remembers her enormous strength of spirit, a passion for justice, and a great sense of humor; you felt you could still hear her laughter long after she left the room. She loved a good game of Scrabble and was always tough to beat. She was a mentor to her great nieces and nephews, taking pride in their lives and accomplishments.
In 2012, Sister Helen retired to the St. Julie Billiart Residential Care Center at Ipswich, Mass., where she lived with her Sisters in community until moving to N.D. Long Term Care in Worcester in October of 2020. Sister Helen Julie was proud and grateful to have spent her life as a Sister of Notre Dame. Despite hardships and struggles, her deep faith in God and the Blessed Mother never wavered. A lifelong optimist, she always maintained "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain." And dance she did!
Sister Helen Julie Monroe is survived by her nieces, great-nieces and great nephews; her many dear friends and former students; and all her Sisters in the Notre Dame de Namur community.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated privately at Our Lady Queen Chapel in Ipswich, and she is interred in the Notre Dame cemetery at Ipswich.
51-56 Teacher Hudson, MA
56-59 Teacher Conn. Grade 7-8
59-63 Teacher Peabody, MA
63-67 Teacher Hudson, MA
67-'70 Teacher Woburn, MA
St. Patrick School, Lowell, MA
71-72 Teacher Danvers, MA
72-73 Teacher M'Head, MA
St. Gregory Elementary School, Dorchester, MA
Beverly Council on Aging, Beverly, MA