Sister Helena Joseph Balbach, O.S.F.

Sister Helena Joseph Balbach, O.S.F., died July 29 in Assisi House, Aston, at age 95. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 73 years.

Sister Helena Joseph (Elizabeth Margaret Balbach) was born in Wilmington, Delaware where she was a member of St. Thomas Parish and a graduate of Wilmington High School. She entered the congregation in 1942 and professed her first vows in 1944. Her sister, Sister Trinita Balbach (now deceased) was also a member of the congregation.

Sister Helena earned a B.S. in education from Mount St. Mary University in Emmitsburg, Maryland and an M.A. in education administration from the University of Delaware. She ministered primarily in elementary education both as teacher and principal.

Sister Helena Joseph ministered for 51 years in her native Wilmington. She served as both teacher and principal at Holy Angels School in Newark and at Corpus Christi School in Elsmere. She was also principal of St. Peter School in New Castle. In later years she served as a parish visitor at St. Peter Parish and as a volunteer at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, both in New Castle.


She taught for 17 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as the Archdiocese of Washington and at St. Anthony School in Trenton, New Jersey.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 2 at Assisi House, with burial in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston.

Sister Helena Joseph is survived by her sister, Frances Balbach; by her nieces and nephews, and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.