“We have come to know and have believed the love that God has in our behalf.” This refrain from one of Sister Mary Helaine’s musical compositions characterizes Sister’s life. Her confidence in God’s love expressed itself in art and music and enabled her to serve in outreach despite many physical difficulties.
On August 6, 2020, God called Sister to her heavenly home from her residence in Rosary Care Center, Sylvania, Ohio.
Born on May 17, 1944, in Fremont, Ohio, and baptized Phyllis, Sister was the youngest of three children of the late George Ehrman and Helen (Parker) Ehrman. She attended Saint Joseph School in Fremont and Notre Dame Academy Toledo. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1962 and professed vows in 1964. She received degrees in music from Mary Manse (Toledo) and Bowling Green State University.
Sister taught at Notre Dame Academy Toledo and St. Wendelin High School Fostoria before becoming a liturgical minister at St. Rose Parish Perrysburg and then a pastoral associate at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Toledo. Sister served as organist and liturgical minister at the Sisters of Notre Dame Provincial Center for many years. In 2010 health problems necessitated retirement from active ministry; however, Sister spent these last years in many forms of service and outreach. Her love of art and music were gifts generously shared. Sister edited and created large print editions of over 300 musical compositions copyrighted by the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister enjoyed crocheting hats for the children in the Central City Catholic schools and collecting stuffed animals for the Mareda Center. Despite her physical limitations, her cheerful and outgoing personality contributed in many other ways, such as inviting others to concerts and starting a 55+ club.
She is preceded in death by her parents, George and Helen Ehrman, sister in law Nancy Ehrman; and nephew Gregory Ehrman. She is survived by her brother George (Gloriann) Ehrman of Arizona; sister Marianne (Thomas) Bennison, Sr. of Fremont Ohio; 6 nieces and nephews, 13 great nieces and nephews, and 17 great great nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by her family, religious community, and friends.
A private service will be held for the sisters and her family at Urbanski Funeral Home, A Life Celebration Home, 5055 Secor Road, Toledo. Tributes may be made to the Sisters of Notre Dame at 3912 Sunforest Court, Toledo.