Her pleasant attitude, generous spirit, and loving heart merited numerous friends for Sister Helen. Her students will long remember her exuberance and passion for the French language.
Sister Helen Fleming (Sister David Marie) was born March 10, 1924, in New York. She was one of five children, two daughters and three sons, of David and Helen Bohen Fleming. Helen attended Our Lady of Angels School, Bronx, and Saint Lawrence Academy, Manhattan. She received her BA in French from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx, before entering the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1946. Sister David Marie received her MA in French from Fordham University, and later earned permanent state certifications from NY and NJ in French.
Sister Helen began her ministry in education at Cathedral High School, Manhattan, where she taught French for thirteen years. She transferred to the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 1961 and taught French for the next twelve years to the college students, as well as to the children at St. Elizabeth Seton Academy, Yonkers. For a brief time she taught French at West Milford High School in New Jersey.
In 1971 Sister Helen became Chairperson of the Modern Language Department at St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle. She then returned to the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 1981as Assistant to the President for Special Affairs. From 1984 through 1998, she taught French at Sacred Heart High School, Yonkers. Sister Helen retired in 1998 and continued to volunteer her services wherever needed. She moved to Cabrini of Westchester in 2019 and remained there until her death on November 18, 2019.
Her pleasant attitude, generous spirit, and loving heart merited numerous friends for Sister Helen. Her students will long remember her exuberance and passion for teaching the French language. She was a compassionate, kind, and prayerful person, and her presence at the Convent and Cabrini will be missed by all the Sisters with whom she lived.
We rejoice with Sister Helen as she meets God “face to face” and enjoys eternal happiness with the One whom she served so well as a Sister of Charity. Que notre soeur repose en paix!
Date of Death
November 18, 2019
Mount Saint Vincent Convent Assembly Room
6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY 10471
Friday, November 22, 2019
Reflection/Sharing: 10:30 a.m.
Mass of Christian Burial
Mount Saint Vincent Convent
Friday, November 22, 2019
St. Joseph Cemetery
Archdiocese of New York
- Cathedral HS, Manhattan
1948-61, Teacher, French
- College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx
Elizabeth Seton Academy, Yonkers
1961–73, Teacher, French
- St. Gabriel HS, New Rochelle
1975–81, Teacher, Chair of Modern Language Dept.
- College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx
1981-84, Asst. to President for Special Affairs
- Sacred Heart HS, Yonkers
1984–98, Teacher, French
- Congregation Services, Bronx
- Mount Saint Vincent Convent, Bronx
2008–2019, Prayer, Service, Witness
- West Milford HS, West Milford
I missed her by two years at SG’s in NR. She must have replaced Sr. Gratia whom I gratefully shared for four years of French. May they all now enjoy together the city of LIGHTS
Sister Helen was my French teacher at Sacred Heart High School. She was not only an excellent teacher but just an all around good person. She was sweet and nurturing. Goodness knows our class could sometimes give her a run for her money but she was unflappable. I remember our classes fondly and how much she wanted us all to succeed. From lollipop sales for the French Club and celebrating the Feast of the Lily of the Valley, to doing her best to prepare us all to not only take but pass the French regents exam Sister Helen did it all. God bless her and may she sleep in peace.
My son and daughter were fortunate to have Sister Helen at Sacred Heart
She was not only a great teacher but truly cared for each and every student. I planted Lily of the Valley in my yard because of her. When they bloom I remember her fondly.
Rest in Peace.
R.I.P. DEAR SISTER
Sr David Marie was her religious name and for years she was known and loved at Cathedral HS and Mt. St Vincent by this name, but many called her, “Sweetie” and it fit her, perfectly, for she was filled with a very religious brand of,” joie de vivre”.
Rest in peace and joy, Sr. Helen.
Auntie Sweetie – my aunt, my 2nd mom, my friend. One of my earliest memories was visiting Auntie Sweetie at the convent. She would take me upstairs to visit her room and just had this way of making it so special! She has been there for me at every milestone in my life and I am so fortunate to have had this woman in my life. She was kind, compassionate, caring and just sweet! But she was also amazing and just so smart. Studying in Paris at the Sorbonne- (she loved Paris) – such an experience! She was an unbelievable teacher. If I happened to mention to people that My Aunt Sweetie was a French teacher – they would say “ That’s your aunt! I had her – I loved her! I can’t tell you how many times this happened! I have to add baking skills to Aunt Sweeties resume! I started a baking business and used to tease her that I inherited my love of baking from her. When she moved into the convent, I received a big box of baking equipment and smile every time I take out her rolling pin! “ I’ll be thinking of you making my pies for Thanksgiving Auntie Sweetie!” I also have to tell you about how much She loved anything Mary Englebreit. If you don’t know this name, she was an artist whose images and quotes just fit auntie sweetie’s personality – kind, loving and “sweet. ” Each year I would get some type of card, calendar or ornament of this artist. I loved her handwriting! She had this tiny perfect writing that just fit her personality. Most of all, I loved her “love of family”. She loved her parents and bothers and sister with all her heart and cared so much about everyone in our extended family. I will miss our talks, I will miss that I could tell her just about anything, will miss looking for cards to send her that are just right for her, But I will always remember her kindness and love, that she was an amazing aunt, an amazing teacher and an amazing person. The world is a better place because of her. I love you Auntie Sweetie with all my heart.
Thank you for sharing such beautiful memories.
My Aunt was Sister Mary Anysia & b4 she died, she was Administrator in Nanuet.
I’ll bet thhey knew each other.
My Sympathy to you.
May she rest in Peace.
I met Sr. David Marie went I attended Cathedral H.
S. as a non-Catholic and I found her to be kind and could read people so very easilyactually. actually
Sr. David Marie was the kindest of the nuns who were teaching at Cathedral back in the 195o’s and because of her I managed to survive. I will always thank her and know that she will forever RIP. Thank you.
REST IN PEACE, SWEET SISTER.
Soeur Helen was the teacher who showed me that learning can be fun and adventurous. I had her for French at St. Gabriels’ from 1975-1979.
I have remembered her with love and a smile all of these years.
I also remember fondly your “Aunt Sweetie” as a student in her French classes at Cathdral HS in the ’50’s. She was, and always be Sr. David Marie. She was always fun and fair and helped everyone especially this Episcopalian, frightened girl! All these years later I still thank her for her kindness. May she RIP!⛪
Hi Susan! This is your cousin Brian Fleming. Any chance you could email me?
My Dear Auntie Sweetie is now Our “Sweet Loving Angel”!
Our Prayers were answered for Her Peaceful Rise to Heaven this past Monday Morning.
There is no more confusion or Sadness as She tried so hard to “Find” Her Beloved Parents, Brothers, and Sister in the darkness of the night. Thank you to everyone who treated My Auntie Sweetie with compassion and Respect during these times and for your patience when I would be on the phone trying to explain that They were all in Heaven.
I can see Her beautiful smile and hear Her soft voice when God Our Father welcomed Her into Heaven.
Auntie Sweetie was raised in an Outstanding Catholic Family, Our Grand Daddy and Grand Mommie centered their home with Prayer and Respect for one another. The Boys went off to Fordham, Auntie Sweetie to The Mount (she entered The Sister’s of Charity after Her graduation, and Her Sister went to St. Vincent’s Nursing before she married. The Values in this Home have been past down to all of Us and Auntie Sweetie was a gentle
Reminder of “How to Keep these Values in Place”.
I will “Chat” with my Auntie Sweetie and I will be “Still” to listen for Her Guidance.
From my childhood, I can remember every conversation
With Her starting with “Deirdre Dear” she knew how to get my full attention!
May God Our Father, His Blessed Mother, Sr. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Her loving Earthly Family take Her in Your Loving Arms.
We are thankful Auntie Sweetie was Our Most Joyful Aunt!
My Prayers Always.
Auntie Sweetie, please enjoy The Fruit of Your selfless and caring life. You are a. faithful Servant..Be at Rest!
Deirdre Anne Fleming Benson
Your words are touching and comforting. Thank you. Peace to you and your family.
Hi Deirdre! This is your cousin Brian Fleming. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be awesome to hear from you! Thanks!
I took 4 years of French with Sr. Helen at Sacred Heart High School from 1986-90. I never knew her nickname was “Sweetie” but it certainly fits! She was a very caring and lovely person who instilled in many of us a love of God, the French language and the City of Lights which endures. I have been lucky enough to travel to Paris 4 times on short trips and a bit of Sr. Helen and what she taught came along each time. A copy of “The Little Prince” which she read to us remains on my shelf. Even though we liked to push her buttons, she took everything in stride with a wonderful sense of humor and is fondly remembered. Rest in Peace, Sr. Helen!
Sister Helen was my wonderful French teacher at Sacred Heart from 91-95. She was always so kind, patient and full of life. She was so excited to teach us about the French language and culture. I remember her classes fondly. I still remember some special French phrases she taught us and Jingle Bells in French. May she Rest In Peace.