Sister Helen Watkins, PHJC, formerly known as Sister Nicholas, passed away December 29, 2014, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Elmer and E. Jeannette (Kinnett) Watkins in Taylorville, Illinois on September 21, 1934. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on July 16, 1959.
Sister Helen ministered in healthcare since 1955 as a nurse, clinical instructor, nurse practitioner, community health coordinator, or in administration at such institutions as St. Elizabeth and St. Anne Hospitals, Chicago; The Center at Donaldson, Donaldson, Indiana; St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, Indiana and Matthew 25 Medical and Dental Clinic, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
From 1968 to 1970 she spent 19 months in Vietnam caring for refugees and as an adviser. Previously she reminisced, “The time I spent in Viet Nam was an invaluable experience for me, it was good learning about a different culture, a simpler lifestyle which offered a chance to think, sort things out, and figure out what’s important in life and in nursing.”
In 2009 when she celebrated her 50-year jubilee as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, she wrote, “Although our ministries have changed, we have continued to seek and find new ways to serve the poor, the sick and the children. I’ve never served in a ministry that I didn’t come to love both the people I served and the people with whom I worked. With each change I always thought it was the best, only to find the next change was the best.”
Sister Helen retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2012.
May she rest in peace!
Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, IN 46513.