Sister Helen Carpenter

Sister Helen Carpenter, M.M.

Current Ministry Location-Maryknoll Sisters Center

Sister Helen, from Worcester, Massachusetts, entered Maryknoll in 1953. She worked in the Maryknoll Seminary kitchen, and received her Bachelor’s in education from Maryknoll Teachers College, Maryknoll, NY, in 1961.

The same year, Sister Helen went to Transfiguration School in New York City’s Chinatown section in Manhattan, NY, where she taught for three years.

Sister Helen went to Santiago, Chile, in 1964, teaching religion and English. By 1974, she had moved to Buzeta, Chile, where she helped direct a formation school and she helped mothers prepare their children for the sacraments. She returned to the United States in 1978 and for three years shared her experiences in mission with schools and parishes

Sister Helen went back to Santiago in 1981, and she focused her mission on the empowerment of women. She worked in the mental health program of Casa Malen, a women’s center that helps poor women who developed neuroses while trying to cope with the stress of political violence and the culturally-approved dominance of their husbands. Sister Helen and Sister Gerri Doiron and the women wrote a book, El Arcoiris Comienza Al Poniente, Casa Malen, Su Historia (The Rainbow Begins in the West, The History of Casa Malen).

Sister Helen worked for 30 years at Casa Malen. The center continues offering a place for women to develop their talents. Couples who are not yet married attend workshops there and learn tools for dialogue within their relationship. Sister Helen was also involved in peace movements and human rights organizations in Chile.

In 2011, Sister Helen returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center.