Sister Catherine Sophia Hellmann
Catherine Sophia Hellmann, CS J
died peacefully at the age of 88 on
Sunday, September 27, 2009 in Camilla Hall at St. Joseph Center in
Tipton, Indiana following a long illness. Kathryn Lucille Marie was
one of fifteen children born to Philomina Bockhold Hellmann and John
Henry Hellmann in Terre Haute, Indiana on September 25, 1921.
Baptized and confirmed at St. Benedict Catholic Church, her family
was dedicated to the land and to the church and remained in Terre
Haute until 1937 when their father was invited by Mother Gerard
through a contact in Indianapolis to come to Tipton to care for the
farm which belonged to the Sisters.
Catherine was preceded in death by her parents as well as six
brothers - John, Louis, Linus, Francis, Jerome, Patrick and one
sister - Rosemary Howell. She is survived by siblings Helen Lustig
of Aurora, CO; Ray Hellmann of Orlando, FL; Gilbert (Ella) Hellmann
of Kokomo, IN; Leo (Joan) Hellmann of Avon, IN; Henrietta (Murl) Day
and Mary Joan (Paul) Koors of Tipton, IN; Patty (Maurice) Parr of
Lafayette, IN and sister-in-laws Dorothy Hellmann of Tipton, IN and
Regina Hellman of Alexandria, IN; as well as numerous nieces,
nephews, grand nieces and nephews and other extended family members.
A graduate of
St. Joseph Academy in Tipton, Kathryn entered the Sisters of St.
Joseph as a Postulant on December 27, 1941. She received the habit
on July 2 of that same year along with the name, Sister Mary
Clement. She later returned to the use of her name, Catherine,
preferring the spelling found on her birth certificate and she added
a middle name, Sophia. First vows were professed on July 2, 1944
and perpetual vows on July 2, 1947.
She began a
long career in health care at Mercy Hospital in Elwood, Indiana
after graduating from Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Kokomo,
Indiana in 1946. She received a Bachelor of Science degree
in Business Administration from Mount St. Joseph College in
Cincinnati in 1966 and a Masters Degree in Health Care
Administration from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri in
1968. A Masters Degree in Applied Spirituality from the University
of San Francisco in San Francisco, California was also completed in
She left Mercy
Hospital in 1948 to serve as Nursing Supervisor at St. Charles
Medical Center in Bend, Oregon. From 1951 to 1964 she was missioned
as Nursing Supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital in Kokomo, Indiana.
Sister Catherine returned to Bend, Oregon in 1969, where she became
President and CEO of St. Charles Medical Center. Surrounded by the
majesty of evergreens, rivers and snow-capped mountains Sister
Catherine began to form her vision for St. Charles Medical Center
which was one of patient and family centered compassionate care
provided by dedicated team oriented physicians and associates.
Catherine’s plan for the hospital was transferred to others and
came alive like healing water. Her coworkers were willing to walk
with her on the journey that would lead St. Charles Medical Center
into the 21st Century and receive the coveted Norman
Cousins Award for Excellence. The Bend, Oregon community honored
Sister Catherine by naming her Woman of the Year in 1975,
recognizing her dedication and commitment to their community. St.
Charles Medical Center continues the tradition of the Sisters of St.
Joseph, always meeting the needs of the dear neighbor.
Catherine retired and returned to Tipton in 2000. While at St.
Joseph Center, she loved to talk with visitors and was thrilled to
recall her time in Oregon. Her family spent hours in her company
and were grateful for the faithful and inspiring life she lived.
Although she only returned to visit St. Charles Medical Center one
time after retirement, members of the Administration came to visit
her and one dear friend has sent flowers for St. Joseph Chapel in
Tipton four times each year. Sister Catherine leaves a legacy of
accomplishment and an example of a life’s vision fulfilled. May she
now rest in Christ’s eternal peace forever.
include welcoming of the body to St. Joseph Center on Friday,
October 2 at 4:00 p.m. with a Prayer Vigil at 6:00 p.m. Mass of
Christian Burial will be on Saturday, October 3 at 12:00 p.m.
followed by burial in the Cemetery on the grounds of St. Joseph
Center. Presiders at the Mass will include Sr. Catherine’s nephews
– Fr. David Hellmann, Fr. Wayne Hellmann and Friar Martin Day. Fr.
Keith Hosey will be the homilist.