Sr. Helen Ruhl, a Religious Sister of Mercy for 68 years, died peacefully Dec. 28 at McAuley Life Center in Farmington Hills, surrounded by the sisters and staff.
Sr. Ruhl was the youngest of six children born to William J. and Blanche (Duffney) on May 20, 1930, in the small farming community of Maple Grove.
She first met the Sisters of Mercy while living with her sister and attending St. Mary High School in Bay City. On Sept. 7, 1947, she joined the Sisters of Mercy at the motherhouse in Detroit. She professed perpetual vows on Aug. 26, 1953.
For 27 years, Sr. Ruhl taught primary and elementary grades throughout Michigan. Baby Boomers in Muskegon, Hazel Park, Bay City, Manistee, Hemlock, Holland, Detroit, Traverse City, Posen, Grand Rapids, Auburn and Lansing learned the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic under her gentle but firm guidance. During these years, she also earned degrees from the University of Detroit and Notre Dame University.
After a sabbatical in Washington state in 1977, Sr. Ruhl became director of religious education at Holy Redeemer Parish in Jenison and then pastoral associate at St. Dominic Parish in Wyoming. From 1985 to 2003, she ministered as director of pastoral care at Mercy Bellbrook, Abbey Mercy and Mercy Hospital in Port Huron. She then became a full-time volunteer at the hospital until she moved to McAuley Life Center in 2009.
Sr. Ruhl is survived by many nieces and nephews, friends, colleagues and the Sisters of Mercy. Funeral services were celebrated Dec. 30 at McAuley Life Center.