Time Out for the Nuns Convention!


As you may know, my day job is at CYO/Camp Howard.  This organization is a Catholic Charities Agency in the Archdiocese of Portland.  I am a member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, employed by CYO/Camp Howard.  My blog covers mostly my work at CYO/CH but from time to time I give you a glimpse of my religious life.  This is one of those times!

My night job is Archivist for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and this weekend I am in Louisville, KY attending a conference with the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR).

I am meeting with 150 women who do the same sort of archival work that I do.  We are the “keepers of the stories” for our religious congregations.  It is extremely interesting work and the stories are powerful.  Archivists know the stories!  Maybe that should be a bumper sticker!

We are attending classes on various topics and today (Friday) we had a choice of three tours to attend including a tour of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.  Of course that was my choice and you might be surprised since one of the choices was Churchill Downs Archives.  I was a bit torn because I would have loved to have gone to Churchill Downs but I really wanted to see how other communities solved similar issues we deal with such as how they file their photos of Sisters.  Seems like a simple question but it can be complex.

Below: One third of the convention visits the Archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, KY

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Below: A clever way to organize Sisters’ scrapbooks!

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Below: More Scrapbooks!  We have several at Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon too!  I like this idea!

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Below: The Archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville are in the basement of their Motherhouse and have a wonderful brick surface to work around.  It is cool, clean and organized!

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Below: Information is kept in files pertaining to living and deceased sisters and women who once belonged but left.

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Below: My friend, Sr. Caritas Strodthoff OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, WI checks out how they file photographs and slides.

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A New Sister of St. Mary of Oregon – Sr. Alexa Weight


AUGUST 14, 2018 BEAVERTON, OREGON SISTERS OF ST. MARY OF OREGON

Sr. Alexa Weight joins Sr. Thanh Pham as a novice with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. Sr. Alexa took the white veil, and constitutions of the Sisters on August 14th as she progressed from candidate to novice on her 7 year journey to becoming a fully professed Sister of St. Mary of Oregon.

Sister Alexa and Sr. Thanh began their “canonical year” on August 15, 2018.  The year will be filled with a balance of prayer, study and work.  This special year, set aside, allows a novice to learn the rudiments of religious life under the guidance of a professed sister known as her “Formation Director.  Sister Thuy Nguyen currently serves as the Formation Director for the novices.

BELOW: Proud Parents, Mr. & Mrs. Weight, await Alexa’s ceremony!

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BELOW: Candidate Alexa Weight asks for the community of sisters to support and teach her in her quest to become a novice.

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BELOW:  Sr. Charlene Herinckx, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, accepts Candidate Alexa’s request as Sr. Thuy prepares to present her with the white veil, a symbol of a novice.

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BELOW: Candidate Alexa is now known as Sister Alexa as she receives the white veil, and constitutions of the community.

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BELOW: Sr. Thanh Pham joyfully welcomes Sr. Alexa Weight to the ranks of Novice!

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BELOW: The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon are filled with joy at the sight of two novices!

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BELOW: Sister Alexa’s parents and grandparents share in her joy on August 15, 2018 at the convent of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in Beaverton.

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BELOW: Mom and Dad joyfully congratulate Sr. Alexa on taking her next step in Religious life!

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BELOW: Sr. Colleen Schmitt serves the ice cream cake at the reception for the family and Sisters!

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BELOW: Mother, Daughter and Grandmother!  Congratulations Sr. Alexa and family!

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Meanwhile, Back at Home…Tania Vanderschuere Rhein


We said “Thank you” to Tania “Vanderschuere” Rhein for 9 years of service on the Valley Catholic School Board last night.  Tania was one of my Teacher Assistants back in the day at St. Mary of the Valley / Valley Catholic.  Way to go, Tania!  THANK YOU!!! (I can still spell Vanderschuere!)

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Final Vows Sr. Rosina Pham


SISTERS OF ST. MARY OF OREGON, BEAVERTON

On August 15, 2017, Sr. Rosina Pham made her Final Vows with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO).  The ceremony took place in the Convent Chapel, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  August 15, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the date which the Sisters generally make vows.  It is a very special time of the year for the Sisters and an extremely important occasion filled with joy!  Sister Rosina is a very special member of the community and works at Maryville Nursing Home, which is one of the ministries of the SSMO’s.

BELOW: Sister Rosina Pham responds to the call to live her life as a religious Sister of St. Mary of Oregon.

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Archbishop Alexander Sample presides over the vow ceremony.

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Sister Rosina answers, “Yes” to the call to live her life as a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon.

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Sister Rita Watkins, Vicar of the Community, assists Sr. Rosina.

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Sister Charlene Herinckx, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and Sister Rosina sign the vow documents after the recitation of the public vows.

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Priest friends of Sister Rosina take part in the ceremony.

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Sister Rosina with her brother, parents and Archbishop Sample.

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A New Sister of St Mary of Oregon! Sr. Thanh Pham


Sr. Thanh Pham, asked to join our religious community this summer after discerning this decision for a year.  Sr. Thanh Asked the Sisters this morning to help her and teach her as she learns to live religious life.  During the ceremony Sr. Thanh received the white novice veil and added “Sister” to her name!  It was a joyous occasion for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon!

sr Charlene Herinckx, superior general of the community, welcomed Sr. Thanh to the novitiate.

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Sister Charlene Herinckx – An Honor Well Deserved!


…And I quote:

“The Regents and the President of the University of Portland have the pleasure and the honor of presenting at these Commencement Exercises the Christus Magister award.  The name of the award is taken from the Latin title of the University’s chapel, Christ the Teacher.  The award is bestowed on those persons who have given witness in their own lives to the elements of the mission of the University, teaching and learning, faith and formation, service and leadership.  The award consists of a bronze medallion of the University’s crest surrounded by the words: The University of Portland Christus Magister Award.  The year and the name of the recipient are engraved on the reverse side of the medal.  The Christus Magister Medal is the University’s highest honor.  Over the years we have presented the medal to senators and judges, theologians and scholars, writers and educators, cardinals and bishops, to men and women who have, in far-reaching ways, incarnated the University’s mission.

While she is a deft deflector of credit. praise and plaudits, her years of service and leadership have been marked with growth and innovation in her religious order and its many ministries which largely focus on education, healthcare and community service.

Founded in 1886, the first and only order founded in the state of Oregon and housed in their iconic green-domed motherhouse in Beaverton since 1930, the Sisters of St Mary of Oregon describe themselves as “living as women of prayer, in simplicity and sisterly love, called to be compassionate and joyful servants of the Lord.”

Beloved and respected by students, friends and colleagues alike, she embodies those traits in the very essence of her being and in bestowing the University’s highest honor upon her, we bestow it as well upon the prayerful. compassionate, charismatic joyful Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, past, present and future.

Thus, with pride and pleasure the University of Portland confers its 2017 Christus Magister Medal on Sister Charlene Herinckx, of Beaverton, Oregon, and now always of the University of Portland.”

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and the family of Sister Charlene Herinckx were on hand to witness the wonderful award bestowed on her by the University of Portland! Congratulations Sister! #sistersblogs, #cyocamphoward, #ssmo, #Sistersofstmaryoforegon

BELOW: Sister Charlene Herinckx, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon receives the Christus Magister Award from the University of Portland at their graduation exercises May 2017.

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Below: Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon attend the graduation exercises at the University of Portland.

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Below: Sister Charlene receives the award from President Mark Poorman.

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Below: A close up of the medal depicting Christ the Teacher.

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What Happened on Holy Thursday?


APRIL 13, 2017 SISTERS OF ST. MARY OF OREGON – BEAVERTON, OR –

Holy Thursday commemorates the activities leading up to the Passion of Christ.  The meal (Last Supper) takes place with a sense of foreboding.  The Gospel writers describe it as a Passover meal.  Jesus talks about the bread and wine as elements of his own body as he shares the bread and cup of wine with those present.  On this night, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and he announced that one of the twelve at the table would betray him.  Later in the evening, Jesus and his apostles retire to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed before being apprehended by members of the Sanhedrin and guards. He is taken away and will be crucified the next day, Good Friday.

Sr. Julie, Sr. Thuy, Sr. Michael Francine and Fr. Francis,  process through the chapel with candles & incense as part of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Members of the local community join the Sisters in the convent chapel for the service. #sistersofstmaryoforegon, 

We Chained Up and Got out of Town


Picture this!  Four Sisters pull out their Les Schwab tire chains, get out the directions and put them on the car for practice in case they need them on the summit of the coast range. Lets step back a few paces and get the full picture.  Sister Colleen Schmitt, Sister Alison Green, Sister Michael Francine and I had planned to go to the beach for Martin Luther King weekend.  A nice four day relaxing weekend to play cards, and celebrate Sister Michael Francine’s birthday on the 16th.

One of the Sisters passed away and the vigil and funeral were scheduled for two of the days of the vacation cutting it in half.  The ice and snow predictions were coming in full force and by 2:00 on Wednesday the 11th it was snowing hard and 6″ had dropped.  I paged the Sisters and asked them to meet me in the parlor where we talked about making the trip that afternoon since no one was at the beach house, and stay till Sunday afternoon which would give us 5 days at the beach!!!  Everyone was in.  We packed our bags and met at the car in an hour.

When we got back to the car, we got out the chains and practiced putting them on. Seemed like a good idea to make sure we could get them on easily and that they fit the car.  The Sisters were the dream team of chain gangs!  They got them on and the hard part was tightening them up.  We got it done, drove a short distance and tightened them again.  We were good to go.  Les Schwab puts out some good tire chains by the way!

We took the chains off and drove out to Murray Blvd., which was mostly open pavement. Our question was what would it be like on the Coast Summit?   If we needed the chains, we were in good hands!   We got past the memorial Tunnel and that was about where the snow and packed ice began.  As things got slippy we switched into 4 wheel drive and said the Rosary. Thanks be to God,  we made it fine!  We drove slowly, no one was on the road but us….good time to travel…and for about 10 to 15 miles were were in snow and ice conditions.

A ways beyond Camp 18 we ran out of snow and ice and had a glorious 5 days at Cannon Beach.  With two teachers in the group, we celebrated Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as news arrived that school was called for the following days.

Meanwhile, back in town…

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Guess Who Won the SSMO Singles Bocce Tournament…?


There were thirty-three entries in the SSMO Singles Bocce Tournament August 14th during a barbecue picnic on the eve of Final Vows for Sr. Alison Green and Temporary Vows for Sr. Anna Nguyen!  Rain threatened but did not dampen the SSMO patio barbecue where hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken skewers were the main attraction prior to “The Event.”

It is obvious that the Sisters have been practicing and the game was taken to another level Friday evening as the Sisters invited relatives and friends of Sister Alison and Sister Anna.  Archbishop Vlazny was among those vying for the honor of first singles winner on the new court AND the first singles tournament played.  The annual tournament has always been a doubles tournament so this was a game changer!  BUT…did he win?  NO…read on…

Archbishop Vlazny joins the SSMO singles bocce tournament 2015

Archbishop Vlazny joins the SSMO singles bocce tournament 2015

What about the Contractor from PC Construction?  Did he win?  NO…read on…

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The contest came down to two people…Sr. Michael Francine and Lee Green, father of Sr. Alison.  It was one of the best contests of the tournament with each ball thrown taking the lead.  Sister Michael Francine threw a ball that nestled right up to the jack and the question was…would Lee be able to knock her ball out and win?

Nope…The SSMO tournament was won by Sr. Michael Francine and it was a great contest to participate in and watch.

Lee Green throws his final ball.

Lee Green throws his final ball.

Sister Michael Francine and Lee Green congratulate one another for a great contest and tournament.

Sister Michael Francine and Lee Green congratulate one another for a great contest and tournament.

Lee and Sr. Michael Francine ham it up!

Lee and Sr. Michael Francine ham it up!

Sister Michael Francine is the big winner with bragging rights!

Sister Michael Francine is the big winner with bragging rights!