Sister Dolores Helbling

Sister Dolores Helbling Cropped PicSister Dolores Helbling, osu, (baptismal name—-Margaret Dolores Helbling) a member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union Community for 73 years peacefully answered the call of God to “come home” on December 7, 2017. A service of prayer and remembering stories of Sr. Dolores’ life will be on Friday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 618 East First Street in Moscow. The funeral Mass will immediately follow. Rev. Joseph McDonald and Rev. Joseph Schmidt are concelebrants.  After Mass there will be a potluck luncheon and all are invited. Interment will be at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon at Moscow Cemetery.

She was born in Golden Valley, North Dakota on April 21, 1924. When she was in high school, her family moved to Moscow because there was a Catholic school available for the children. She attended Ursuline Academy (now, St. Mary’s Parish School). She came to know and felt drawn to serve as an Ursuline Sister. After high school, in 1941, she entered the Ursulines and made her vows (promises to God) as an Ursuline Sister on May 31, 1944. She served God’s people in many ministries:

  • Taught in high and elementary schools in Great Falls, Montana and at St. Malachy’s in Los Angeles, CA
  • In Santa Rosa, CA, she worked with young women to assist them in discerning their vocation in life
  • She gave service in the Ursuline Order as the Provincial of the Western Province (that covers the states of Montana, Idaho, California and Alaska).
  • Served in ministry in Alaska
  • Worked in parish ministries in both Billings, MT and Moscow, ID where she ministered to shut-ins and elderly. In both places she was instrumental in having the parishes obtain a bus to take the elderly and disabled to church.
  • She founded H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elderly Alcoholics Recover Today) in Billings, MT
  • Even in the last few years, though she herself was physically incapacitated and needed care at Good Samaritan Village Care Center, Sr. Dolores still reached out to provide care and solace to her fellow patients.

Many words could be used to describe who she was. There was never a challenge or task that she said was impossible to do. She always found a way to achieve the goal!  However, in her very being she was first and foremost a gardener. The following quote by Simone Martel from Expectant Gardener expresses well who and how Sr. Dolores Helbling lived her life.

“Why do we make gardens? The act seems so extravagant, so illogical. Don’t we have enough hard work in our lives already? Are we looking for more? Why on earth do we bother?  It takes a kind of courage. You have to learn to cherish. You have to dare, to take the risk, to bother, to care. To make a garden, you have to be able to love and to see yourself as capable of nurturing. It takes patience, too. If the garden is to thrive you must commit yourself to it for years, for the creation of a garden takes place over time. Like a child, a garden has needs that have to be met, whether we feel like it or not, day after day.  You have to have confidence. You have to take charge and be responsible. You have to act upon the garden. And you have to let it act upon you. Because it will act upon you. And will knit you together with the rest of the world. It will not let you stand apart. The challenge is hard, but it is irresistible. To get dirty, to get involved. To act and be acted upon. That is life. If we stop accepting that challenge, we stop living.”

Visitors may come to Short’s Funeral Chapel, 1225 East 6th Street on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

Memorials may be made to: Ursuline Sisters Retirement Fund or to St. Mary’s School Foundation, PO Box 8485, Moscow, ID 83843.

Online condolences may be sent to

One Response to Sister Dolores Helbling

  1. Tom & Judy Helbling says:

    We will always remember this saintly lady who touched so many lives. So glad we had time to spend with her in September

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