A funeral Mass was celebrated for Sister Mary Helen Hotze, SSND, Nov. 5 at the School Sisters of Notre Dame Theresa Center Chapel in south St. Louis County. Sister Mary Helen (formerly Mary Angele), 96, died Nov. 1 at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton.
The seventh child of nine, she was born to Anna (Steinnerd) and Bernard Hotze on May 27, 1923 in Leopold, Mo. She completed her elementary education at St. John School in Leopold and graduated from Notre Dame High School in St. Louis, as an aspirant. She entered the candidature at Sancta Maria in Ripa on Aug. 26, 1942. She was received into the novitiate on July 26, 1944, and given the name Mary Angele. She pronounced first vows on July 27, 1945, and final vows on July 27, 1951.
Sister Mary Helen earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro in 1951; a master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1959; a master’s degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University, St. Louis, in 1963; and a doctorate in theology in spirituality from Lumen Vitae in Brussels, Belgium, in 1965.
She taught in high schools for 14 years, including St. Peter High School in St. Charles and St. Joseph High School in Conway, Ark. She also taught at the former Notre Dame College in St. Louis. In 1964, she was granted a year of study at Lumen Vitae, an International Catechetical Center in Brussels. This experience enabled her to be in touch with the developing movements in theology as the Second Vatican Council was drawing to a close. It also provided the opportunity to view these movements from an international perspective. Returning to the United States, she taught at Notre Dame College until its closure in 1977.
Sister Mary Helen then became a member of the SSND Retreat Team at Notre Dame Hall in St. Louis, giving retreats and spiritual direction. In 1979, she was elected to the provincial council of the former St. Louis Province. After two terms of service, she became a pastoral minister at St. Mary Parish in Fort Madison, Iowa, which merged with St Joseph Parish. She continued in pastoral ministry in Fort Madison until 2005. During her last years of service, she developed a city-wide program of pastoral care which involved volunteers serving as pastoral care ministers and Eucharistic ministers.
At the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 2005, she returned to Sancta Maria in Ripa and community service. It was at this time that she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Chemotherapy, prayer, support of her family, sisters, the staff at Ripa and friends resulted in remission. She retired at Veronica House in 2009 and in 2014 was transferred to Anna House. In late October 2019, she was hospitalized with congestive heart failure.
She is survived by a sister, Angela Hotze of Burlington, Iowa. Burial was in Sancta Maria in Ripa Cemetery.