“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. … If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” ― Galatians 5: 22-23, 25


Sister Helen Cheeney, 87, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL) for 67 years, died on March 31, 2023, at Ross Hall, Leavenworth, Kansas. She entered religious life on Aug. 19, 1955.

Sister Helen was the only daughter of five children. She began her education in a one-room schoolhouse near the family farm in Montana. Her parents, Wilfred and Bernadette (née Richard) Cheeney, then moved to the town of Wolf Point so she could attend high school and encouraged her to get as much education as possible.

Sister Helen attended Saint Mary College in Leavenworth, Kansas, and after a year break to discern her vocation, she entered the Novitiate with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. She took the name Sister Ann Bernadette when she received her habit but later returned to her baptismal name.

Sister Helen taught in schools in Missouri, Oklahoma, Montana, Kansas, and Colorado. Later, she worked in Denver with the Archdiocesan Housing Committee, Inc., Marillac Clinic in Grand Junction, Colorado, and finally, as the treasurer for the SCL Mother House in Leavenworth.

Preceding Sister Helen in death were her parents; brother, Lee; and niece, Michelle Vanek. Survivors include her brothers Raymond (Judy); Edward (Pam); Lyle (Mary); nephews and nieces: Jeff (Eleanor); Ben Vanek; Chad (Anne); Valerie Lansdale (Jack); Greg (Safia); Eric (Angela); 17 great-nieces and nephews; and the SCL Community.

There will be a vigil service at 7 p.m., Sunday, April 23, in Ross Chapel, SCL Motherhouse, Leavenworth. Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in Ross Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 24. Interment will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Mother House grounds. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th St., Leavenworth, KS 66048.