Celebrating 100 Years of Life and Ministry

"Thank you, thank you, the Lord has been good to all of us." And especially to Helen Rita McCartney, OP, who turned 100 on January 19 and offered these words of thanksgiving to those who had gathered for her birthday celebration in the Dominican Life Center. Decked out in red (her favorite color), Sister Helen Rita was the life of the party, the belle of the ball, as she graciously accepted everyone's well wishes.

Sister Helen Rita's family and friends, Adrian Dominicans from near and far, co-workers, and special guests assembled for the party. Earlier that day, Sister Helen Rita's life in ministry was celebrated at a Mass in St. Catherine Chapel, and a dinner followed that evening.

Mary Sue Kennedy, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Crossroads Mission Chapter, introduced Sister Helen Rita and offered a synopsis of her life and ministry. Sister Helen Rita was the second of four children and was named Gertrude Mary. In 1926, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation and upon receiving the habit, was given the name Helen Rita.

Sister Helen Rita taught high school science and math, directed school plays, worked with cheerleaders, coached basketball and baseball, taught music, studied throughout the country as a recipient of science grants, and served the elderly at a high-rise complex in Detroit. For the last 10 years, she has served in the mail room on the Adrian Dominican campus, where she checks all outgoing mail to ensure that it has sufficient postage and is addressed correctly.

"Today, Helen, we thank God for all you have been, all that you are, and for what is yet to come," Sister Mary Sue said. "And we ask our God to bestow very special blessings upon you as you enter the second century of your life."

Other accolades for Sister Helen Rita included a proclamation read by State Representative Dudley Spade, a rousing medley of postal-themed songs led by Nancy Murray, OP, and a congratulatory letter read by William Rupley, Postmaster of the Adrian Post Office. Those assembled then sang a hearty "Happy Birthday" to Sister Helen Rita, and the real partying began!