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Mother of University president dies at 88

| Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Helen Jenkins, mother of University President Fr. John Jenkins, died Monday morning after sustaining severe head injuries in an accident Friday, according to a University press release.

She was 88.

Jenkins will be the celebrant for his mother’s funeral Mass, which is set to take place in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, according to the release.

“My mother has always shown a supernatural talent for making 12 people all feel important and loved to the same degree at the same time,” Jenkins said of his mother at his 2005 inauguration. “If ever I display any of that talent in the future, as I hope I do, you can be sure it did not originate with me.”

At his inauguration, Jenkins told a story about his mother visiting the Grand Canyon, according to the release.

“I remember the day we all visited the Grand Canyon, and then drove to a park for lunch,” Jenkins said. “Mom was handing out the sandwiches when a look of horror came across her face. She had one sandwich too many. She was no mathematician, but she knew that if she had one sandwich too many … she had one child too few.

“In contrast to the good shepherd who would leave all her sheep to go off in search of the one, Mom herded us all into the car and Dad stomped on the gas. We found Rick safe and sound. But after Mom declared that your brother was lost and now is found, we were disappointed not to get the fatted calf,” he said.

Fr. Jenkins was able to celebrate Mass at his mother’s bedside with his 11 siblings before she died.

Helen Jenkins was a trained nurse, according to the release. In addition to 12 children, she is survived by 43 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.

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