When a Sister Passes


After graduating from Oregon State University with my degree in Education, I entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.  February 1980 was my entrance month.  One of the things that I found interesting was when a Sister would go through the dying process and pass away.  I have to be honest, I was uncomfortable with the idea of death in the early days of my religious life.  Thirty-seven years later, I am very comfortable with all aspects of the process and I understand clearly that we will all make that journey one day.

This morning, Sister Janice Boogard left us after a struggle with her health.  We all walked the journey with her, drove her to appointments, visited with her, prayed with her, and these past several nights, stayed at her bedside 24 hours per day until she made her way to our Lord this morning around 9:30am.

I heard a call over the intercom from Sr. Julie, our house superior, announcing that Sr. Janice had passed away.  Our tradition is to go to the room of the deceased and pray together with the body as the soul continues on the journey to God.  We gathered together and prayed the prayer of departure then sang together.  Each Sister says goodby as we prepare for the body to leave the convent and go to the mortuary where it is prepared for the funeral.

After you have lived several decades with a person there is a sorrow that accompanies the process even though you are happy they are free of the suffering they have endured. The feeling you have for their family members are deep as well as you have come to know them as a result of your association with the Sister and the families association with the community.  One of Sister Janice’s blood sisters was with her as she passed this morning which was very special.

I will write about her funeral next week.


6 thoughts on “When a Sister Passes

  1. I’m so sorry! I have such great memories of Sister Janice from our pilgrimage to Italy in May 2014. She was such a blessing to know, and I will hold these memories forever in my heart! Thank you to all of the SSMO community for being there for Sister Janice. You are all in my prayers. May God bless you continuously throughout this sad time and always. 🙏🏻🙏🏻


    1. Thank you, Donna, I am so grateful you all had that opportunity to travel together and your group was so helpful to her as she made her way on the pilgrimage! God knew who she needed on the trip!


  2. Sister,

    Thanks for sharing. I find that the older I get, the more people I know who have passed over. Such is the Lord’s plan.

    Tom Farley Your favorite DJ! (miss you at the dances.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.