Two CSJs Honored for Service in Archdiocese

curran  gutchewsky  
Curran, Gutchewsky

On Sept. 28, Sisters Mary Denis Curran and Helene Gutchewsky were honored for their outstanding service to the St. Louis Archdiocese and its parishes, schools and agencies during the annual Cardinal Rigali Awards.

S. Mary Denis, a mentor/faculty adviser/educator at Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis, lives for the connection she has with her students.

"I find myself energized by the students' friendliness and enthusiasm," she says.

After 36 years of teaching at Rosati-Kain, and in the archdiocese for an additional 13 years, S. Mary Denis chose to retire and reside at Rosati.

As a volunteer mentor and educator, she tutors a girl from China and assists her with the English language and class work. "It has been an interesting experience to see the United States through the eyes of someone not familiar with our culture."

S. Mary Denis also helps out in the development office with various tasks, substitutes for teachers and babysits.

For S. Mary Denis, it was truly an honor to receive the Cardinal Rigali Service Award. "For whatever reason I may have been chosen, it was nice to know that someone noticed."

As the cook and housekeeper at Sacred Heart Parish in Crystal City, Mo., one of S. Helene's most important goals is to "try and provide a loving and happy atmosphere for the staff and parishioners."

Along with cooking and cleaning, S. Helene gives of herself in so many other ways. She organizes, plans and prepares the meals for funerals by the Martha/Mary group, Sunday Brunch, special events and holiday celebrations. She opens the church and gathers the sacraments for 8:00 Mass. She also takes on the personal ministry of sending out birthday, get well and sympathy cards to parishioners.

"What I enjoy most at Sacred Heart is to see the joy that I bring to the people just by being me."

To receive the service award is a very humbling experience for S. Helene. "It is a sign of appreciation that I am fulfilling the service that Jesus is asking me to do in the Beatitudes," she says. "It is an encouragement to continue planting the seeds of love, care, concern and compassion right where I am."

Curran and Gutchewsky were among 26 other recipients who are longtime employees and volunteers in the archdiocese. The awards were presented by Archbishop Carlson during a lunch ceremony at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsberry, following Mass in the St. Vincent de Paul Chapel.

To view a complete list of this year's recipients, click here.

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