Sister Helene Courtney, CSJ
Sister Helene Courtney, CSJ
Sister Helene Courtney, CSJ, 86, died May 1 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph for 67 years.

Janet Catherine Courtney was born on Sept. 3, 1934 in Rome, N.Y., the daughter of Daniel and Mary Blake Courtney. She attended St. Aloysius Academy and Academy of the Holy Names in Rome, graduating in 1953.

After her graduation, Janet entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. Joyce, her older sister, entered the community on the same day. They were received as novices on March 19, 1954. Janet received the name Sister Helene; Joyce became Sister Celine. Both sisters professed first vows in 1956 and final vows in 1961.

Sister Helene completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The College of Saint Rose. 

For the first 15 years of her ministry, Sister Helene taught in several schools in the Albany and Syracuse dioceses. In 1972, Sister Helene moved into what became her love: pastoral ministry and outreach to the homebound. She served in these capacities in Syracuse, Albany and Utica. In 1985, Sister Helene received approval to study at Simmons Mortuary School in Utica, completed two internships and then served at funeral homes in White Plains and Redondo Beach, Calif. Sister Helene then returned to her beloved pastoral outreach until failing health necessitated a return to St. Joseph’s Provincial House.

In addition to her parents, Sister Helene was predeceased by her brothers, James and John. She is survived by her sister, Sister Celine; a niece, Colleen Courtney; a nephew, Sean Courtney; and several cousins in Rome.

Due to continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Helene at this time.  A memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date.