Sister Helen Marie Schumacher, OSF 1931-2022
Sister Helen Marie Schumacher, OSF, an educator for 35 years, passed away May 5, 2022, at Mount St. Mary Hospital in Lewiston. She was 90 years old.
The daughter of Gerard and Mary Louise (Seereiter) Schumacher, was born Sept. 13, 1931, in Buffalo. A year after graduating from Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, Sister Helen Marie joined the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity at Stella Niagara. She professed her final vows Aug. 18, 1956, at Stella Niagara and took the name Sister M. Aquinas.
She would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Education from Rosary Hill College (now Daemen) in Amherst in 1958, and a master’s in Education from Ohio University in 1967.
Beginning in 1953, Sister Helen Marie taught at St. Joachim School, Buffalo; St. Ann School, Buffalo; St. Benedict School, Eggertsville; and St. Peter School, Lewiston. She also taught in the dioceses of Trenton, New Jersey; Columbus, Ohio; Steubenville, Ohio; and Wheeling/Charleston, West Virginia. Sister Helen Marie also served as teacher and principal at St. Francis International School, Rome, Italy from 1981-1985.
Other ministries Sister Helen Marie undertook in the Diocese of Buffalo include province secretary for the Sisters of St. Francis, Holy Name Province at Stella Niagara; secretary at St. Mary of Sorrows Parish, Buffalo; tutor at the Francis Center, Niagara Falls; and director of pastoral care at Stella Niagara Health Center, Stella Niagara.
After her 2005 retirement, Sister Helen Marie continued to volunteer in the health center at Stella Niagara and served as a volunteer receptionist at the Stella Niagara main entrance. She also provided additional assistance at Francis Center in Niagara Falls.
She is survived by her siblings Barbara Klocke, Margaret McManus, Joseph and William Schumacher; 37 nieces and nephews, 59 great nieces and nephews, 11 great great nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents and siblings Mary Lou Gerold, Antoinette Herman, Virginia Wendel, and Gerard Schumacher.
A funeral Mass was held May 10 at Stella Niagara. Burial followed at the Sisters’ Cemetery at Stella Niagara.