Sister Helen Yonkers R.S.M.

Yonkers, Sister Helen R.S.M. ALBANY Sister Helen Yonkers, R.S.M. (Sister Mary Joseph) died on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, in St. Peter's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Albany. She had been a Sister of Mercy for 72 years. Born in Rensselaer, she was the daughter of the late John and Theresa Hausmann Yonkers. Sister Helen earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the College of St. Rose, Albany, and pursued doctoral studies in mathematics at New York University. She received training in CPE (clinical pastoral education) at Northampton State Hospital, Northampton, Mass., and Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn. Sister Helen ministered as an elementary school teacher at St. John the Baptist, Schenectady; St. Patrick's, Johnstown; St. Patrick's, Watervliet and Annunciation, Ilion; and as a high school teacher at St. Joseph's and Vincentian High schools in Albany and Keveny Academy, Cohoes. Sister Helen's love of the sick led her to pursue spiritual ministry to the elderly, the sick and the dying. When she became coordinator of pastoral care at the McAuley Residence, she made an extraordinary effort to respond to the needs of each resident, somehow managing to find time to listen to and support each one. She loved to lead prayer services with the residents. As a CPE supervisor at St. Peter's Hospital, Sister Helen taught her students to value their natural abilities and use them for the benefit of others. She even offered a mini CPE course to parish volunteers to assist them in their visitation of the sick. In her work in clinical pastoral education, Sister Helen earned the respect of students of all faiths. In her retirement, it was not uncommon for Sister to walk over to the hospital to be with a patient. She offered a gentle, kind presence, often just sitting quietly or praying the rosary. Sister Helen did not abandon the ministry, even when she herself became a resident at St. Peter's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, but continued as long as she was able to tend to the needs of others. In addition to her parents, Sister Helen was predeceased by her brothers, John W. Yonkers (Catherine) and Arthur C. Yonkers. She is survived by her brothers, Edward C. Yonkers (Mary) of Rensselaer and Paul P. Yonkers (Barbara) of Averill Park; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews as well as by her religious community, the Sisters of Mercy. Viewing hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, in the Chapel of the Convent of Mercy, 634 New Scotland Ave., Albany. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a prayer service of remembrance at 7 p.m. The Liturgy of Christian Death and Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 17, in the Chapel. Interment will follow in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Greenbush. The Sisters of Mercy are grateful to the staff of St. Peter's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the tenderness with which they cared for our Sister. Contributions may be made in Sister Helen's name to the Sisters of Mercy, 310 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, NY, 12208. Condolence page at

Funeral Home

W.J. Lyons Jr. Funeral Home
1700 Washington Ave Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 286-3400

Published in Albany Times Union from Mar. 15 to Mar. 16, 2014