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Obituary | Sister Helen Louise Schmitz, OSU

A funeral Mass for Sister Helen Louise Schmitz, OSU was celebrated Nov. 21 in the chapel at St. Francis Convent Motherhouse in Springfield, Ill. Sister Helen Louise, formerly known as Mother Mary Julian, died Nov.13 at Loretto Home at the Franciscan Motherhouse in Springfield. She was 98.

Born in Glendale, she entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1939 and professed vows in 1941. She earned a bachelor's degree in music from Webster University and a master's degree in music education from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. She also earned a choirmaster certificate from the Gregorian Institute of America.

Sister Helen Louise taught organ, piano, clarinet, violin and guitar. She was church organist and director of children's mixed choirs, boys' choir and adult choirs. She taught in grade schools and high schools in Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana and Minnesota. She also taught at Dominican College in New Orleans and Springfield College in Springfield, Ill. She was a member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission in the Springfield Diocese.

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, she taught sixth through eighth grades at Brescia Hall in Kirkwood from 1942-43 and music at St. Joseph School in Clayton from 1943-47. She taught music at St. Peter School in Kirkwood from 1947-54 and was parish and school music coordinator from 1971-73.

She played five musical instruments and composed a Mass in honor of St. Patrick in 1994. Her preferred medium in art was design and sketching in pen and ink. She did tatting on cards/stationery, embroidered, knitted, created her own designs on plastic canvas, made church banners and sewed much of her own clothing.

After retiring from teaching, she worked at Cathedral Parish in Springfield, Ill., for 18 years, updating the parish census and other parish records as well as recording new parishioners, baptisms, address changes and deaths. In 2005, she became a resident of Loretto Home.

Sister Helen Louise is survived by one brother, Fred W. Schmitz, of Brazil, Ind. Burial was in St. Peter Cemetery in Kirkwood. 

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