md riordanWebSr. Helen Mary Riordan, fmm

Sr. Helen Mary Riordan, fmm, entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary on September 16, 1946 in Holy Family Novitiate North Providence. She made her first vows on March 19, 1949, and her final vows on March 19, 1952 in Holy Family Chapel, North Providence. After completing studies in nursing, she was sent in mission to St. Francis Sanatorium in Roslyn where she cared for children with rheumatic fever. She served by nursing in the Franciscan Hospital for Children, formerly called Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Brighton, Ma., the FMM Nursing Center and Fruit Hill Day Center for Elderly. Later, her ministry was receptionist and doing other community services in St. Francis Convent, Roslyn, NY.   At present, her ministry at Fruit Hill is intercessory prayer for the Church and the world, and occasionally writing to her legislators about matters of concern.


Helen was born in Newport, KY in 1926, the fourth of six children. The family moved to Norwood, Ohio about a year later.

Helen was first attracted to religious life by the good example of the Sisters of Charity who taught at St. Matthew's Parish Grade School. Later, when in high school, someone gave her one of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary's Yearbooks. She also received a small book about the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, which told of the FMM’s Eucharistic Adoration, which greatly interested her.

After writing to Fruit Hill, she learned that the FMMs were in an inner city parish, St. Anthony, in Cincinnati. She visited them and was impressed by the Sisters' kindness and Franciscan simplicity.

Helen entered the Novitiate at Fruit Hill on Dec. 12, 1946, and made her first profession on June 13, 1949. That fall she began studies with Sr. Ruth Crawley at St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing in Brighton, MA. After graduating in 1952, Helen made her final profession at Fruit Hill on June 13, a day of great happiness. She and Sr. Ruth were then sent for a year's nursing experience at Roslyn with the rheumatic fever children. Following this, they were sent to study for a B.S. in Nursing at Boston College for two years, during which time they stayed mainly at St. Clement's Convent.

Following graduation in 1955, Helen was sent to Roslyn and worked in Nursing and Central Supply until1961. Then she was sent to Brighton where she worked in Kennedy Memorial Hospital until 1970, again in Nursing and Central Supply.

She is a gifted artist who at one time painted Our Lady of Guadalupe on a tilma to be used in a play about Juan Diego and O.L. of Guadalupe. Later this painting was framed and hung in one of the rooms of St. Francis Hospital.

She then ministered in the FMM Nursing Center in Fruit Hill for about a year, after which she served mainly as a receptionist and also took an Art Correspondence Course. Then Helen was sent to Fall River during which time she studied part time.

In 1978 she was sent to Fruit Hill where she served in the Fruit Hill Day Center for the Elderly. Later, Helen was sent again to Brighton in 1980 where she served as receptionist, assistant sacristan and helped with other community service.

In the spring of 1990 when the Community was moving from Brighton, Helen was sent to Fruit Hill to help in St. Michael Community and in the Nursing Center in the former Infirmary. In 1994 when this temporary community was dissolved, she was sent to Roslyn where she served as assistant sacristan part time, receptionist and also community service.

In 2007, Helen was sent in mission to Queen of Peace Community, North Providence. She enjoys reading, music, occasional TV documentaries. Her current ministry is that of intercessory prayer for the Church and the world, and also writing letters to elected officials on matters of concern.