Sister Helen Renzelmann, CSA

Sister Helen Renzelmann, CSA, formerly known as Sister Gregory, died peacefully March 20, 2020, at Nazareth Center, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Helen was born March 23, 1921, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to Frank B. Renzelmann and Martha Mondloch Renzelmann.  She was the oldest in a family of five girls.  She entered the Congregation of St. Agnes in 1938 after graduating from Sheboygan High School. She made her profession of vows in the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes on August 15, 1941, with the religious name Sister Gregory. 

In 1949 Sister received a BS in Education from Marian College of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She continued her education, earning an MA in History from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois. Among her varied post-graduate studies were: Certification as a Newspaper Fund Fellow in 1965 from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; an NDEA Fellowship in English in 1968 from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts; training sessions in Campus Ministry at Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, Michigan; Pastoral Leadership Training Institute, Mary Manse in Toledo, Ohio. Sister Helen engaged in numerous formal learning experiences over the years as she responded to new opportunities to minister among the people of God.

Sister Helen was an elementary teacher for twelve years and a secondary teacher for sixteen years in Wisconsin, New York, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. In 1969 she transitioned from teaching into Campus Ministry in Thibodaux, Louisiana, for five years. For the following twenty years she did parish ministry in Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico. Upon returning to Fond du Lac, she did grant research and prospect identification in the Marian College Development Department from 1989-1996. Sister Helen then dedicated her energy to volunteer roles in the Fond du Lac community, including at St. Agnes Hospital–Support Services; Fond du Lac Area Information and Referral (FAIR) helping to set up a data base for social services; Family Resource Center; and Fond du Lac Center for Spirituality and Healing. In 2019, Sister Helen became the first recipient of the Spirituality and Healing Award in honor of her fourteen years as volunteer receptionist at the Center.

Sister Helen was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Martha Renzelmann; her sisters Mary Hildegarde Blyth, Barbara Schrimpf, and Rose Ross. At the time of Sister’s death, she was survived by her sister Gertrude Lawrence.  Since Gertrude’s death in May 2020, Sister Helen is survived by nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of St. Agnes, with whom she lived, prayed and ministered.

Because of current COVID-19 restrictions, a Memorial Mass will be held in private services

at Nazareth Court and Center, Fond du Lac, WI, with Father Ken Smits, Capuchin, presiding. 

Burial took place on March 23, 2020, at St. Joseph Springs Cemetery. 

Memorials can be directed to the CSA Mission Advancement Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937.

The Sisters of St. Agnes are grateful to the nurses and staff of Nazareth Court and Center and to the staff of Hospice Hope for their care of Sister Helen in the last years of her life.