Mary Helen Forney, SSJ — 70 Years

Virginia Forney, was born in Olean, N.Y. After graduating from Olean High School in 1953, she felt an invitation to become a Sister and requested information from the Sisters of St. Joseph. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania from St. Mary of the Angels parish in Olean, NY, on September 2, 1954 and professed her final vows on August 15, 1960. She was given the religious name Sister Mary Helen. She attended Villa Maria College, Erie, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education while teaching at Diocesan elementary schools. She taught for 25 years at numerous schools, including St. Andrew, St. Patrick, Holy Rosary, Our Lady Christain and Our Lady of Peace schools in Erie, St. Bernard in Bradford, St. Francis in Clearfield, Notre Dame, Sharon, and Holy Rosary Johnsonburg. She also taught at Eaglemeount Family Ministries in Lewisville, Texas. She served as a Pastoral Minister at St. Bernard’s in Bradford and was a founding Sister of the House of Prayer in Erie. She earned a Master’s in Graduate Theology at St. Bonaventure University. She holds a spiritual direction certificate from the Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spirituality in Clearwater, FL. After a short time in pastoral care, she was a substitute teacher for ten years while living in Olean, NY, assisting at St. Mary of the Angels, now the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. She returned to Erie in 2007 and ministers at Nightingale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center as an activity aide.

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