Sr. Helen Dirig, FSSJ

Sr. Helen Martha Dirig, FSSJ

1932 - 2021

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Sr. Helen

Obituary of Sr. Helen Martha Dirig, FSSJ

Sister Helen Dirig, (formerly Sr. Bartholomew) died peacefully on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at Immaculate Conception Convent in the 89th year of life and the 60th year of religious life. Helen Martha Dirig was born on February 24, 1932 in Hancock, NY to the late Benjamin and the late Catherine (nee Peake) Dirig. On August 22, 1959 she became a postulant and on August 2, 1964 Sister Helen professed her final vows. Sister Helen received a Bachelor degree in nursing from St. John University in Jamaica, NY and her RN from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn, NY. Throughout her religious life, Sr. Helen served as a nurse for several years at St. Mary Hospital in Brooklyn, NY and in the Infirmary at the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in Hamburg, NY. For over 22 years, 1965-1978 and 1981-1991, Sr. Helen served as a missionary in Rio Verde, Goias, Brazil. During her first tenure there, she worked in home nursing, youth ministry, health education for student nurses, and as a supervisor at the hospital. When she returned, Sr. Helen served on the parish administration team, as coordinator of youth ministry and as a leader of a basic Christian community. Upon her return to the US, Sr. Helen served in pastoral ministry at Mother Cabrini Parish in Shamokin, PA. Sister’s final years of active ministry were offered as a volunteer in the library and development office at Immaculata Academy in Hamburg, NY before joining her Sisters in the Care Community in 2015 to serve in the ministry of prayer and presence. Sr. Helen met the FSSJ’s at St. Mary School of Nursing and then continued her nursing career working with our sisters. In her heart she longed to be a missionary and, in time, her dream came true. While in Brazil, she felt fulfilled as she ministered to the poor. Sr. Helen reflected often on the Scripture passage, “The Lord your God is in your midst. He will exult with joy over you. He will renew you by his love. He will ‘dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival’.” (Zeph 3: 17-20) Sr. Helen was an avid puzzler. She often sat at a table working a puzzle while looking out at the beautiful nature setting. She enjoyed interacting with others, watching football and cheering on the Bills and reading mysteries. A favorite activity of Sr. Helen’s was corresponding with her family and friends. Arrangements by Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home. Services will be held privately. Burial will be at St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in memory of Sister Helen Dirig. No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love God. ~ 1 Cor. 2:9