Franciscan Sister Elena Goulding, former teacher at St. Paul the Apostle School in Spartanburg, dies at 81

ASTON, PENNSYLVANIA—Sister Elena Goulding, OSF, died in Assisi House on April 7. She was a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 63 years. She was 81.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held April 14 in Assisi House. Burial was in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston.

Sister Elena was born Bridget Philomena Goulding in Knockanure, County Kerry, Ireland, where she was a member of St. Mary Parish, Moyvane. She entered the congregation in 1949 and professed her first vows in 1952. Sister Elena earned a bachelor’s in English from Neumann University in Aston, and a master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She worked primarily in education, prison ministry, and eldercare.

Sister Elena served for 26 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. She taught at Immaculate Conception School in Towson, St. Stephen School in Bradshaw, Father Charles Hall Middle School and St. Frances Academy. During her later years in the archdiocese, she served as a prison chaplain at the Women’s Detention Center.

Sister Elena also spent 12 years in the Diocese of Wilmington, where she taught at St. Anthony and St. Paul schools, and dedicated her last year at St. Paul serving as principal. She also taught at Nativity School in Washington, D.C., and St. Paul the Apostle School in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

In 1993 Sister Elena returned to her native Ireland where she served as Head of Home at Ailt an Oir in Dun Laoghaire and was a tutor at Griffeen Valley Educate Together.

In 2008, Sister Elena moved to Assisi House in Aston, where she served in prayer ministry until her death.

Sister Elena is survived by two sisters, Mary Clancy and Patricia Danaher; two brothers, Christy Goulding and Michael Goulding; nieces and nephews, and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.