|Helen Condon, RSCJ|
Verse for a Christmas Card
Today would they have come in a borrowed car
bumper to bumper, looking for a place
"No Vacancy" on all the motels?
Would the birthing be in a gas station
passersby, homeless too, offering help?
Beyond the DJ music could they hear
a new song piercing the night
stars dancing, and a child's first cry?
Helen Condon rscj (1921-2006)
Province of the United States
Below is the obit as found on the rscj.org site for Helen Condon, RSCJ. Helen and I became acquainted while I was at Barat College and she lived in the Dougherty Community which was the same dorm building that I lived in at the time. She was very smart and kind. I was not familiar with her poetry writing back in the 1980's and only became aware of it upon her death. The poem above is about Christmas and she died so close to Christmas in 2006 that I sent this to fellow alums back in 2006 when I passed on the news of her death. I remember feeling happy for her that God had finally called her home as she did seem to linger for such an extended period of time. Since we are celebrating National Poetry Month I thought of Helen and recalled the poem above. I would love to read more of her poems and will have to search for them. Interestingly enough she was born in April which is the same month we celebrate National Poetry. More about dear Helen and her background in the obit below.
Sister Helen Condon, longtime educator in Omaha, Neb., and Lake Forest, Ill., died Thursday, December 21, at Oakwood Convent of the Sacred Heart, Atherton, Calif., following a long illness. She was 85 and had been a Religious of the Sacred Heart for 61 years.
Sister Condon was a native of the Chicago area. She attended Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Ill., and earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Greek from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in 1942. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart the following year, professing her temporary vows in 1945 and her final vows in 1951.
She continued her studies while preparing for final vows, earning a master’s degree in English and Greek from Catholic University of America in 1949 and a doctorate in English, with a specialty in American literature, from Stanford University in 1953.
Sister Condon began her teaching ministry at Academy of the Sacred Heart, Chicago in 1945. During five decades as an educator in Sacred Heart schools, she served as dean of students at Barat College in Lake Forest from 1952 to 1955 and oversaw administration of the boarding and day school at Academy of the Sacred Heart (now Woodlands Academy) in Lake Forest from 1955 to 1964.
She then moved to Omaha, where she served as academic dean of Duchesne College for four years (the college closed in 1968) and as principal of Duchesne Academy, a four-year high school, from 1972 to 1978.
In the intervening years, from 1968 to 1972, she worked in administration for her religious community in the Chicago area and served as an editor on the staff of the Secretariat of International Union of Superiors General in Rome.
From 1979 to 1981, Sister Condon served as special assistant to the president of Catholic University in Washington D.C. while studying scripture and theology there. She also did graduate work in education and theology at Creighton University and Loyola University in Chicago and at Gregorian University in Rome.
Sister Condon was a poet whose worked flowed from her contemplative life. Her work was published in Review for Religious and other publications.
She taught English and religious studies at Barat College and directed the campus ministry office from 1981 until 1993, when she moved to Oakwood Convent of the Sacred Heart, a retirement center for the Religious of Sacred Heart in Atherton, Calif.
Sister Condon is survived by a sister, Barbara O’Shaughnessy of Wilmette, Ill. She was preceded in death by another sister, Joan Condon McIntyre of Chicago.
A funeral liturgy will be celebrated at Oakwood at 10 a.m. December 29 followed by burial in the convent cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4100 Forest Park Avenue, Suite A, St. Louis, MO 63108.