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August 23, 2008


Billy B.

I still have a black and blue on my chest from her index finger.

But my greatest memory of Sister Helene was when Mickey Norton (who had a terrible stutter) was finally fed up with Sisters ridicule, and stood up for himself. It took him a few minutes to say it and it went something like this "fu fu fu fu fu fu fu fu fu fu fu fu_ _ you Sister". After that day Mickey won her respect and was never ridiculed again in her or Charlie Burns class.

Gary G

Great Article Jimmy. One of my faverote quotes from her was, "Your hair is so long you might as well wear one of your sisters dresses".

Paul Boyle

Jimmy, Sister Helene was one of the tougher ones at St. Clements. I remember whenever we went into her class to sell tickets to the football games, she would embarass everyone into buying a ticket whether they were going or not. Those were the days my friend!

Maryellen K

Sister Helene was one of the first nuns we saw with HAIR - and hers was RED (not naturally I think!) One day she was watching the two classes that were joined with the "cloakroom doors" and when one was acting up, she turned to yell at them and her TEETH fell out - I still remember choking back the laugh - and yet, like so many, in later years she was someone who came through when needed!! Thanks for the memories!!

Joan S.

Ah Jimmy, you brought back many memories! One of my "memorable" moments was when I was in the 7th grade and our homeroom teacher Sister Asella (spelling?) passed away. Sister Helene came in ranting that we had caused her death! Another time I had the misfortune of correcting a Math mistake on the board. I was told to 'stand up' where I was called a Houdini, sissified sissy, and other good things for close to 15 minutes. She was definitely an original.

Sister Helene

I can't believe anyone has fond memories of Sister Helene. She taught nothing. She was as close to child abuse as I could even imagine. She treated my so badly I still have chills when her name is mentioned. She hurt so many children. I think she would have been arrested and hauled away in this day and age. Don't mistake the fact that you survived her as nostalgia.


Sister Nilus was no day at the beach either.

You started hearing the stories about these two, and worrying about getting them when you walked into the first grade.

I was lucky enough to get a "FRONT ROW" seat in both of their classes.

PS How much cash did those nuns make (pocket) selling all that penny candy over the years?



Sr Nilus was tough as nails in the classroom but she was a very warm and caring person outside. In her defense she as well as all the other grammar school nuns had to teach a class of 50 with no moving around accept for recess and lunch and certainly no teacher's aid. I'd love to see a modern day teacher try that.
As for Sr Helene she did border on child abuse but she did not discriminate. She nailed everyone and I think we were all smart enough to see past her craziness. My favorite story (and there are so many) also involved Micky Norton. It was the day Sr declared to all of us that she was going to cure Mr Norton's stuttering problem. To make along story short after 10 or so minutes of futility it ended with Sr Helene screaming "Don't call me SSSSSSister, I don't call you NNNNNNNorton. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Jimmy.


she was by far the worst teacher ever to walk the planet she just found someone or multiple kids to abuse for the class and you hoped she didnt get to your row before the bell rang longest classes of my life how about sister reparata another classic .best story when she would tell everyone almost everyday that bobby powers wanted to go to bosco but yes mr powers you werent accepted you were rejected

Sister Helene

I agree that Sister Nilus was tough. However, she was not mean spirited or abusive. I had both teachers. Underneath her hard boiled exterior she did have a soft spot. I also agree with another blogger that with so many children to watch over Sister really had to be consistent and firm and, yes, I learned something from her.

Sister Helene had no redeeming qualities. She pistol whipped her students daily. Yes, we did just look at the clock and prayed to God that the tirades and personal attacks would end. I learned nothing from her nor did anyone that sat in front of her daily. Some could find her humorous and look past the "craziness" while others experienced the worst year of their life. How could any person of the cloth feel good about robbing an eighth grader of what should be a happy time in their life. I hope that all her sins are revisiting her whereever she is.

mark morrison

great stories jimmy,and so nice to see you still going strong...mark morrison

John Morrison

I am not a "Sissified Lump"!





My teacher mrs. thompson hated her. she started laughing so hard when she read this.

Al Chiozzi (Wisconsin-based Gibson SG, Mini Squirts and Shadowfax fan)

Walk into the Powderhouse Pub sometime and yell "Sister Helene is coming". I guaranty that a large group of 50 year old men will scurry under their barstools.


Hello Jimmy,
How are you ? I am e-mailing you from No. Virginia, DC area where I have lived for the past 15 years. Do you remember the Hughes girls (6 look a likes) from Morrison Ave ? We lived behind you and my cousins were the Koerber girls. (Not a bad looking lot in our days) I use to be fast and skinny enough to dodge the bulldog that patrolled Faulkners property. I have clear memories of taking the short cut through my back yard, climbing the Faulkner "mountain" and running across Faulkner's driveway to avoid the buldog who might bite my head off before slipping beneath the fence that lined the property between the Koerbers and the Faulkners property. I still have dreams about being in the Faukner "mansion" after all these years. I wonder what ever happened to the Faulkners ?
I have good memories of you and your family. We have lost one of our sister's who attended St Clements in 2004. Do you still play the drums? I use to play with my cousin Suzie. I always felt like a dog next to her.
I had a major laugh when I read your article and a bigger laugh at the commentaries. My sister Mary received a phone call from one of her friend's who said "Ding dong the witch is dead" when poor Sr Helene finally passed away. I have stories as well but I remember trying to avoid her constant spittle when she went on her tirades. After having 4 daughters who were verbally abused and scarred from these nuns, my parents finally spared my 2 youngest sisters from going to St Clements after my sister Margaret
(#5) had major issues with the witch Sr Clementina.
I have fond memories of having a tug of war with Sr Clementina because once again in first grade, I was caught not paying attention. She tried to drag me to the principals office. I refused and was terrified for my life. Yes, we can not forget the good nun Sr Clementina. I have more stories but will end on this note. Thank you anf keep in touch!!

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