In Memoriam: Sister Helen Murphy, SC

With her quiet strength and thoughtful nature, Sister Helen dedicated a total of 45 years to the special call of child care service to the poor with humility and expertise.

Sr. Helen Murphy

Sister Helen Murphy (Sister Marian Jeanne) was born July 8, 1923 in Yonkers, New York, one of two daughters and three sons of John and Juliette Calle Murphy. Helen attended Holy Trinity School and High School in Teaneck, New Jersey. She earned a BA in Social Studies from the College of Mount Saint Vincent before entering the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1944. Sister Marian Jeanne later earned a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University and permanent NYS certification in Social Work.

Sister Helen began her ministry in education, teaching at Holy Cross Academy and Saint Gabriel, both in Manhattan. She then spent a year at Saint Joseph Hall, Brooklyn, as a group mother for children in the seventh and eighth grades. In 1950, Sister Helen began a long history with the New York Foundling Hospital. She became the Assistant Director of the Boarding Department and then an intake worker in Mothers’ Social Services. In 1963, Sister Helen became the Director of the Boarding Department, followed by Assistant Administrator of the New York Foundling Hospital. In 1968, she became Administrator of Saint Agatha Home, Nanuet, a position she held for seven years. She spent the next five years as a special consultant working to facilitate the merger of the New York Foundling and Saint Agatha Home. This required great skill and knowledge for the careful understanding of city, county, state, and federal regulations. In 1981, Sister Helen returned to the NY Foundling as Associate Executive Director, followed by Executive Director from 1988 until 1996. In her retirement years, Sister Helen became active in the Venture Foundation where she helped write a book about its history and works.

With her quiet strength and thoughtful nature, Sister Helen dedicated a total of 45 years to the special call of child care service to the poor with humility and expertise. Sister Helen was a faithful Sister of Charity and daughter of Elizabeth Seton. She is now with her family, friends, and the Sisters who have gone before her, in the presence of a loving God whom she served so long and so well. Rest in peace, Sister Helen.



Date of Death
October 4, 2017


Michael J. Higgins Funeral Home
321 S Main Street
New City, NY 10956

Monday, October 9, 2017
2:00 — 6:00 pm
Prayer Service 4:30 pm

Mass of Resurrection
Saint Anthony Parish Church
36 West Nyack Road
Nanuet, NY 10954-2931

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
10:00 am

Saint Agatha Cemetery



Archdiocese of New York

  • Holy Cross Academy, Manhattan
    1945, Teacher
  • St. Gabriel, Manhattan
    1946–47, Teacher, Gr. 6
  • New York Foundling, Manhattan
    1950–53, Asst. Director Boarding Dept.
    1953–63, Intake, Mothers’ Soc. Serv.
    1963–66, Director Boarding Dept.
    1966–68, Asst. Administrator
    1976–81, Consultant
    1981–88, Assoc. Exec. Director
    1988–96, Executive Director
  • St. Agatha Home, Nanuet
    1968–1975, Administrator
    1976–81, Consultant

Diocese of Brooklyn

  • St. Joseph Hall, Brooklyn
    1947–48, Group Mother, Gr. 7–8

One Response to In Memoriam: Sister Helen Murphy, SC

  1. marta ortiz October 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

    I wss under the care of Sr Helen at St Agatha”s from 1969-1975 and it was an honor…as i now look back at those years. The words to describe her is service to undeprived children…and her legacy will live on…

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