Nurse Helen

September 17th, 2020 1 Minutes

Of 209 graduates from the St. Eugene School of Nursing, Helen Faulkner was one of the first from Cranbrook. Born in 1916, Helen moved to Cranbrook at the age of six months with her parents, Marion and Cornelius VanBraam. When Helen turned eighteen, her wish was to go to University. Limited finances influenced her decision to pursue a career locally.

Helen had a choice of three careers: teaching, secretarial work, or nursing. She decided to embark on her new vocation with the St. Eugene School of Nursing.

She began her day at 7 a.m. joining fellow students downstairs for the Roman Catholic prayers, had breakfast in the main floor dining room, and then began her lessons.

The school had strict rules: students had an on-duty and off-duty dress code and a 9 p.m. curfew. They were not allowed to smoke or drink. At the beginning of the training, they learned how to clean hospital rooms. It was hard work, and at the end of the day, Helen was lucky enough to have a private room while most of the other students had to share accommodations.

St. Eugene Nurses’ Residence. Collection # 0032.0013

When Helen graduated from her training in 1937, she worked at the St. Eugene Hospital and later at the Cranbrook Hospital. She also worked in Creston and Golden. Helen married George Faulkner in 1940 and raised three children. Following retirement from nursing in 1981, Helen remained an active member of the St. Eugene Alumni until her passing in February of 2011.

She was a loving heart, a gentle spirit, a beautiful soul.

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