In Memoriam: Sister Helen Marie Brebner, OSB

imbrebnerhSister Helen Marie Brebner (formerly Sr. Mary Eulalia) died at the Monastery of St. Gertrude of heart failure on March 12. Sister Helen was born at St. Maries, ID, on April 26, 1930, to James and Flora Ann (McMillan) Brebner.

Known for her gentle and quiet spirit, Sr. Helen experienced life with enthusiasm and joy. Her community and family describe her as playful, mischievous, and caring. Always searching for truth, Helen enjoyed sharing new insights from books, nature, people, and God. She delighted in discovering the healing qualities of essential oils and the sustaining energy from earth and trees. Her gracious listening led people to open their hearts to receive her challenges and wisdom.

Prior to entering the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 1944, she attended Mt. St. Maries Academy and St. Gertrude’s Academy. After making her monastic profession in 1948, Helen worked at Our Lady of Consolation Hospital, Cottonwood. As a much loved first grade teacher, she taught in Rupert, Lewiston, Greencreek, Nampa, and Cottonwood. Always deeply prayerful, Helen lived her community life as a balancer, stabilizer, and friend. Many guests of the monastery experienced her warm hospitality. One of the highlights of recent years was the celebration of her Golden Jubilee on July 11, 1998. On that occasion, surrounded by family and community, Helen reaffirmed her loving commitment to God and her Benedictine way of life.

One of seven children, Helen is survived by a brother, William Brebner, a sister, Lucille Nelson, both of St. Maries, ID, and a sister, Frances Ann Stilimaker of Hillsboro, OR. She was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Carolyn, and two brothers, James and John.