In memoriam: Sister Helen Strohman, CHM

Sister Helen Strohman (Mary Maurice), CHM, 90, died April 7, 2023, at the Humility of Mary Center (HMC) in Davenport, Iowa.

Helen Anne Strohman was born Dec. 13, 1932, in Keswick, Iowa to Leo and Mary Agnes (Dunn) Strohman. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1952 and professed final vows in 1957.

Sister studied education both at Ottumwa Heights College in Ottumwa, and Marycrest College in Davenport, the latter conferring on her a BA in Elementary Education in 1967.

Sister Helen’s career in education began before profession of final vows; in 1954, she began her life as a teacher at St. Anthony School in Des Moines, Iowa. She traveled frequently, serving as a teacher, minister, and educational program director at over 20 locations in Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi and Illinois. Her teaching missions in Iowa include St. Anthony, Christ the King, West Des Moines; and Holy Trinity, Des Moines; St. Alphonsus, Davenport; St. Mary, Marshalltown; St. Donatus in the town of St. Donatus; Assumption, Granger; and St. Mary and St. Patrick in Ottumwa. She also taught at St. Austin, Minneapolis. In Mississippi, her teaching positions included Sacred Heart in Camden and the Rainbow Literacy Center in Canton.

Outside the role of traditional teacher, she also served as the director of the CHM Seeds of Hope program in Des Moines; and the YES program, the Rainbow Literacy Center and the MadCAAP educational program, all in Canton, Mississippi, programs dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to those who otherwise lack them. In particular, her work at MadCAAP focused on providing education for county jail inmates, helping them to earn their GEDs. She also served as a pastoral minister and caregiver in North English, Iowa and Peoria, Illinois. Finally. in 2003, she became the director of the Sacred Heart Hispanic Outreach in Canton. In 2022, she returned to Humility of Mary Center after beginning hospice care in Mississippi.

Sister Helen’s family and friends will miss her humor, kindness and her deep commitment to persons often overlooked or needing someone to reach out to them. She was gifted at providing these.

Sister Helen is preceded in death by her parents, brothers John Patrick and Joseph Strohman, and sisters Martha Flynn, Katie Grady, and Margaret Strohman. She is survived by sisters Rita Strohman, Sheila Falk (Howard), many nieces, nephews, cousins and her CHM community.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, April 12, followed by burial in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport.

Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.