“Sister Helen was a guiding spirit for her students and continued her relationships with them for many years.”

Sr-Helen-Jarczynski-webSister Helen Regina Jarczynski (Sister Maria Francis) was born on February 27, 1922 in Manhattan, one of four girls and three boys of Francis and Katherine Gillon Jarczynski. Helen attended Saint Margaret of Cortona School and Saint Barnabas High School in the Bronx. She entered the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 7, 1940, and was followed by her sister, Virginia Catharine, in 1946. Sister Maria Francis received a BA in English from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, an MA in Counseling from Manhattan College, and New York State Certification in Education and Counseling.

Sister Helen’s early ministry was in elementary education. She taught first grade in Saint Francis Xavier and Ascension Schools in Manhattan before being missioned to the Bahamas in 1947. There she served as Headmistress of Sacred Heart and Saint Francis Xavier Schools. Sister Helen returned from the Bahamas in 1961 and was missioned to Saint Agatha Home in Nanuet as a teacher and a principal. She was then assigned to Saint Augustine School in the Bronx where she taught for seven years. From 1970 until 1990, Sister Helen served as the Math Lab Coordinator in Emerson Junior High School in Yonkers.

Sister Helen was a guiding spirit for her students and continued her relationships with them for many years. During the time she lived in Yonkers, Sister Helen was a member of a Sisters of Charity Committee that sponsored a “boat family” from Laos as they entered the United States. She worked tirelessly to help them adapt to their new way of life and was present to and for them, whether it was a trip to the supermarket or the doctor. Sister Helen remained in contact with the family over the years and recently attended the wedding of the youngest child. Upon her retirement from education, Sister Helen directed Saint Peter’s Parish Food Pantry in Yonkers, where volunteers packed and distributed bags of food three times a week.

From her earliest years, Sister Helen has been an innovative advocate for the poor. Her kindness, understanding and compassion will long be remembered by her many students and all those whom she served. Your work is now over, Sister Helen. Be at peace and enjoy the presence of your loving God whom you served so well.


April 29, 2015


Mount Saint Vincent Convent
6301 Riverdale Ave.
Bronx, NY 10471
Sunday, May 3 , 2015, 2–6 pm
4:15 pm Prayer Service

Mass of the Resurrection
Mount Saint Vincent Convent
Monday, May 4, 2015, 10 am

Saint Joseph Cemetery
Yonkers, NY


Archdiocese of New York

  • St. Francis Xavier, Manhattan
    1942–43, Teacher, Gr. 1
  • Ascension, Manhattan
    1943–47, Teacher, Gr. 1

Archdiocese of Bahamas

  • Sacred Heart, Nassau
    1947–56, Headmistress
  • St. Francis Xavier, Nassau
    1956–61, Headmistress

Archdiocese of Nanuet

  • St. Agatha Home, Nanuet
    1961–62, Teacher, Gr. 6 St.
  • St. Agatha Home, Nanuet
    1962–63, Principal

Archdiocese of New York

  • St. Augustine, Bronx
    1963–70, Teacher, Gr. 6

Yonkers Public School System

  • Emerson Junior High, Yonkers
    1970–90, Math Lab Coordinator
  • St. Peter’s Parish, Yonkers
    1991–94, Dir. of Development
  • St. Peter’s Parish, Yonkers
    1994–2002, Dir. Social Ministries, Food Pantry