Sister Helen Plivelic
Wednesday, June 5 from 2-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., Providence House – Kingston, MA
Vigil Wake Service:
Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., Providence House – Kingston, MA
Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m., Providence House – Kingston, MA
We commend to your charity the soul of our beloved
Sister Helen Plivelic
Who departed this life on May 31, 2019
In the sixty-eighth year of her religious life
Age: 91 years, 25 days
“She is a risk-taker who stands on the edge, embracing the tensions and chaos around her, while continuing to ask the difficult questions.”
Anna Plivelic, born May 7, 1928, in McKeesport, PA, was the daughter of Philip and Anna Turkovic Plivelic, who were both born in Zagreb, Croatia. Her brother Mark and sister Mary Hornicsar live in Pennsylvania and her niece Carol Hunter in Massachusetts.
In 1951 Anna entered the Sisters of Divine Providence in Allison Park, PA. As a novice she received the name Sister Helen Joseph. She embarked on her teaching career in parish grade schools in the Pittsburgh area. Already in 1958 Helen came to the newly established Province of Our Lady in Kingston, MA. Sacred Heart High School welcomed her to the English and Religion Departments. When need called she spent several more years in elementary schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Then she returned for her final years in education to Sacred Heart High School.
Always with a view to making the world a better place, Helen’s mind and spirit—continually intent on living in the present moment—led her to living and working with the poor, the disenfranchised, the sick and elderly. Helen always saw in them the face of Jesus. Her volunteer work with the marginalized included positions as recreation therapist, activities director and ESL instructor to immigrant aspiring nursing students. Children knew her as “Joy the Clown.” Catholic Charities said of her: “She brought about significant attitudinal changes in clients lives and managed to bring acceptance and love into the lives of many people who don’t accept themselves nor love themselves, enabling them to see they are capable of creating something beautiful.” Helen was a gifted creative woman.
“I believe I have been called by a God who is still calling me forth to embrace whatever being a Sister of Divine Providence means. I believe I am a Sister of Divine Providence to serve God and the Church for others, not just for myself or my Community. I believe that God will not call me to that for which He has not gifted me. I believe that I am in the world, not separated from it. I believe that in Christ, the Father will see me through,” said Helen in a reflection after a 1979 CDP meeting.
Helen spoke of herself as a non-violent peace activist. She engaged in prayer vigils, studied issues calling for peaceful responses and delighted in having personally met Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ. A deeply meaningful experience for Helen was her participation in “We share one Peace,” a pilgrimage in 1993 to the war-torn areas of Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzgovina, Serbia and Croatia. With her Croatian heritage, she was able to relate to some women and children she encountered, singing songs she remembered from her childhood.
When illness brought Helen to the Lourdes Center, she realized it was time for her to stay in Kingston. She befriended Sister Bernadette, who was confined to a wheelchair, and took her for “rides” inside and outside the house. Gardening had always been a favorite pastime and she especially loved dandelions, blowing their fluffy tops into the wind and scattering more seeds to grow more bright flowers. With her earthly life now complete, her spirit soars to the God in the universe.
Sister Emma Jean Middendorf
CLICK HERE to make a contribution in honor of Sister Helen's memory.
CLICK HERE to view a slideshow celebrating Sister Helen's life.