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Incarnate Word & Blessed Sacrament

Houston, Texas + + + established, 1873

 Jesus, the Incarnate Word
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Meet Sr. Helen Spanos...

      I am a native Houstonian, one who remembers the skyline of Houston in the 1930's when the two tallest buildings were the Gulf and Esperson Buildings. Little did I realize at the time, that I would live such an exciting life.

My father came from Greece and my mother was a first generation Bohemian. Her parents came from Moravia, Czechoslovakia. A big day that I remember well in my childhood was the day of my Baptism at St. Joseph Church in Houston. I had been baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church as a 10-month old. However, Father Sullivan, our Pastor, thought I should be baptized again. I was in the Second Grade and my teacher, Sister Andrew, had taught me about the effects of Baptism. The graces of that day are still with me.

My Grade School and High School Education was with Incarnate Word Sisters. Following St. Joseph School, I continued at Incarnate Word Academy until I graduated, then entered the Convent on August 15, 1949. At the time, there was a period of nine months as a Postulant, two years Novitiate and three years of Temporary Vows. Final Profession was on August 15, 1955. At the time I was an elementary school teacher.

A few years later I was assigned to Marian High School where I taught for six years. At the same time I was in charge of the Postulants, the young ladies who entered the Convent. Following these six years as High School Teacher and Postulant Director, I was sent to serve as a Missionary in Guatemala. In June, 1965, five of us Sisters boarded a van, driven by Fr. Patrick Flores (later Archbishop Flores) and Father Gilbert Pekar and headed for Huehuetenango, Guatemala. My life changed!!! For six years I taught Religion in the Public Schools, worked with the Youth, the Legion of Mary and the Catechists who taught religion in their aldeas.

On returning to Houston in 1971, I began teaching at Holy Name School. I had an eighth grade Home Room, taught Religion to several grades, AND guitar lessons after school. For about five years, I worked as Director of the C.C.E. Program.

Following Holy Name seven years later, another Sister and I, Sister Irma Endres SSMN, were sent to work in the Eastern Deanery of our Diocese. I was a missionary again. This time I worked with East Texas Catholics. Sister and I had Catechist and Bible classes in every little town south of Palestine, Fairfield and Teague down to Prairie View, Hempstead and Magnolia. Our Bishop Morkovsky told us not to drive at night, so we had a home in every little town where we could spend the night after teaching a class. After a year and the donation of a second car from the Diocese, Sister and I were able to go in different directions. My work became centered on the Hispanic Community, which I loved.. I also worked a lot with the Youth and was involved with the first Youth Retreat at Camp Kappe around 1982 or 1983.

On returning to Houston in 1984, I was asked to help in the formation of an Hispanic Youth Group, ENCUENTROS DE PROMOCION JUVENIL In 2010 we will celebrate 25 years of Encuentros. Along with Encuentros, I worked with Vocations in my Community and for a few years in the Diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry. In an effort to promote Spanish Speaking Vocations, Casa Maria and Casa Jesus were established with the help of Mr. Ralph Marek in North Houston.

     By 1992, the Community felt that I needed a Sabbatical so I had the blessing of going to Lyon, France to live where our Congregation established in 1625. What a blessed time of my life.!!! St. Andrew Parish in Channelview was my next ministry on returning to Houston in 1993 where I stayed for about 11 years. Because of eye problems I could not drive at night so I began teachng in Baytown where I lived at St. Joseph Convent. The Elementary School had an opening in the 5th grade. Providentially, St. Joseph School had been my first Mission as a Sister. I had taught the 3rd and 4th grades as a Temporary Professed Sister in 1953-54. I have been back in Houston since 2008.



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