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Helen Steiner Rice
1900-1981

Helen's life changed forever when, in 1960, one of her Christmas verses, "The Priceless Gift of Christmas," came to the attention of a performer on the Lawrence Welk Show. He read the verse on national television and Gibson was deluged with requests for it. Not long after, Helen was asked if she could supply another verse for the Welk Show. She gave permission for the use of a poem she had written for a religious convention. It was entitled "The Praying Hands." The poem praised the holiness of daily selfless acts of service that often go unnoticed. When that verse was read on television the inspirational poems of Helen Steiner Rice catapulted into the national limelight. "The Praying Hands" became one of the most popular greeting cards ever produced.

In the years that followed, Helen was approached to write books of inspirational verses. She gathered together into books many of the rhymed stanzas originally sent to those she loved, and she wrote dozens and dozens of new inspirational verses, all this in addition to her full time work producing greeting cards for Gibson. Her simple, sincere expressions of profound religious truths touched hearts and lives in the United States and beyond. People from around the world began to write to Helen for encouragement and support with their personal problems. She tried to answer as many of their letters as she could for she saw her correspondence as another form of service to God. Helen believed her talent for easing human heartache through her verses was a God-given gift, one through which she could channel God's love into the world. She remained amazingly active until she was nearly 80 years old, despite the fact that she battled an increasingly painful and crippling arthritic condition. Eventually she had to give up the work she loved and the correspondence she so cherished. During her last years, she decided to set up the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation. Helen believed that through this charitable foundation she could continue, even after her death, to give both inspiration and assistance to those in need. Books, cards and other memorabilia bearing Helen Steiner Rice's verses still sell tens of thousands of copies annually and, over the years, the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation has awarded millions to charitable agencies in her name.

Helen spent her final months living in a retirement center. Those who visited her there contend that, until the last, Helen Steiner Rice remained an "Ambassador of Sunshine".

 

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