Sister Helen Clare Kline, 90, a longtime nun and educator also known as Sister Mary Samuel, and a sister of the late Philadelphia City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, died Sunday, Dec. 1, at St. Joseph Villa, a retirement community in Flourtown.
Helen Kline was born in the Port Richmond section on Dec. 21, 1922, the second of nine children of Samuel and Anna Kline. She attended Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School and John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School.
Before becoming a nun, she worked in retail in Philadelphia, said her niece, Maureen Robbins.
In 1946 she joined the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, an order primarily dedicated to teaching elementary and high school students. She took her final vows in 1954.
Sister Kline served in the parishes of St. Timothy's, Our Lady of Holy Souls, St. Hugh of Cluny, and the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. She held a master's degree in special education from Chestnut Hill College.
She spent 18 years teaching special education at schools in Camden, Trenton, Vineland and Roselle, N.J., dedicating herself to students with disabilities and working with unwed mothers.
She retired to St. Joseph's Villa, a retirement community for Sisters of St. Joseph and others, in 2001.
Sister Kline enjoyed taking road trips to visit relatives in Florida and other states, and traveling across the country with her family.
"She wouldn't miss a family function for anything," said Robbins, her niece. "She loved shopping and going to Atlantic City."
She also enjoyed acting. Sister Nora Fox, director of pastoral care at St. Joseph Villa, said Sister Kline performed in the musical Nunsense at Philadelphia's Society Hill Playhouse in 1990.
She is survived by a sister, Regina Karbelk. Joan Krajewski, who served as a city councilwoman from Northeast Philadelphia for 32 years, died in August.
A viewing will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday at St. Joseph Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, followed by a Funeral Mass at 2. Interment is also at St. Joseph Villa.