The Last Thing I Did…..


In December of 1979 I was asked to make a sign commemorating the area the Oregon Trail passed through Sherman County. I had just finished student teaching and had graduated from Oregon State University. I was waiting for February 3, 1980 to enter the convent with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in Beaverton. A women’s group in the North end of Sherman County asked me if I would make a sign for them. I told them I would be happy to do it. It would be the last thing I would do before entering the convent.

I was living at home on the farm near Kent, OR the southern most part of the county. Wasco was toward the north end of the County. Sherman is the second smallest county in Oregon, only Wheeler is smaller in both population and acreage. The Columbia River to the north, the Deschutes to the west and the John Day to the East cut out the shape of the county.

I found several good pieces of Douglas Fir in the loft of the barn. Who knows how long it had been there. It was just what I needed as it was two inches thick, almost a foot wide and 5′ long. I laminated the pieces together with pegs and clamps to get them to the size I needed. I went to work hand routering the design onto the wood. After finishing, I painted it and finished it. The whole project took about two weeks to complete. I delivered it to the ladies in Wasco and they got one of the farmers to put it up. I saw it over the course of 40 years as I traveled home from time to time.

My cousin, Carsten von Borstel who lives in the county told me the sign had been reported stolen this fall. Someone had seen it in the back of a pickup truck on its way out of the county. There was a lot of commotion on the Sherman County Facebook page over the sign. People were pretty upset by it. No one really knew the details of the sign or how it got to mark the location. My cousin, Carsten informed them. I reached out and told them I would make a new sign. I am posting a photo of the old sign on this blog and at a later date will post the new sign. I have finished routering it on a CNC machine and am in the process of paining it now. It is a different design entirely from the first one. Stay tuned!

1980 Oregon Trail sign commemorating site in Sherman County, Oregon where the trail passed through the county.

2020…Reflections on Entering a New Decade


Like many people, I like to usher the new year in by going through my calendar, making notes of the highlights and lowlights of the year, write up the highlights in my Christmas card and do a general self reflection as we turn the corner into January.

With the beginning of a new decade, it seems that deeper reflection is called for. As we look at our personal timelines, some of us are looking at the second half of the timeline, the downhill side! For me, that makes reflection as well as staying on track important!

I would like to share some questions I used from a Google search which I tweaked and made my own. I hope you might find them worthy to consider! Happy New Year!

LOOKING BACK

What was one of my best decisions? How did it impact my life?

How am I thoroughly different today compared to who I was in 2010? How am I the exact same as who I was in 2010?

Which people have been the core anchors of my life over the past decade? Who have I relied on in my moments of need?

What has been my deepest suffering and what have I done to embrace it or heal it? How have I chosen to deny it or run away from it?

What have been my sources of deep wisdom, faith and intelligence?

Where have I already achieved intense excellence? Why did that happen?

What were my peak experiences of the past ten years that lead to joy and peace?

Have I found a tribe that I feel deeply aligned with? If no, what concrete things am I really seeking, and why haven’t I found them yet?

What are the most important memories of the past decade and how will I carry them with me?

LOOKING FORWARD

What do I want to achieve in the next ten years?

Am I willing to embark on a bold adventure if life invites me on a journey?

What will I do for the first time in my life?

What will keep me grounded, mentally and physically in the years ahead?

What am I going to do to heal my traumas? How far am I willing to go to really deal with problems?

How am I going to do a better job of exploring and being my true self? (Spiritually, authentic personality, deepest talents, passions, artistic expression, inner voice.)

How do I see my relationship with God as a factor in how I will live my life the next ten years?

How am I going to fully activate in the years ahead? How am I committing to live the most dynamic, intentional, profound, authentic and aligned years of my life?

THOUGHTS ON THE EXAMINATION OF OUR LIFE

Bill Gates said, “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Plato

The unexamined life is not worth living, but the unlived life is not worth examining.” Andrew Klavan, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ

BINGO Night at Grace Village


SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 WINONA LAKE, INDIANA

As my week of vacation with my Aunt comes to an end, we enter a high stakes game of BINGO where there are several winners per game and the payout is a mini candy bar!  Fifteen minutes before the games begin, a talented woman plays the piano as part of the group sings along.  It is a community building activity and provides entertainment for several of the residents.

Just for the record, I won 2 candy bars! 🙂

BELOW: Barbara and Aunt Nancy are ready to play BINGO!

IMG_9435

BELOW: I will win the “picture frame game” with the call of “B3”

IMG_9439

BELOW: Nancy (not Aunt Nancy) wins 2 cards of “Blackout” with one number called!!!!

IMG_9440

I sat at the winners table for sure!

IMG_9442

Sentimental Journey


SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 WINONA LAKE, INDIANA

IMG_0258

Every year I make my annual vacation to Indiana to visit my Aunt Nancy (Mom’s sister) and her family.  It is always very special to me because these are really some very special people to me.  One of the things we ALWAYS do is take our sentimental journey to visit the places that were important in our family history on that side of the family.

Highlights on the trip include a visit to Sidney, Indiana where my Grandfather and Grandmother met.  Grandpa lived on the street that Grandma’s sister lived on.  She would come to visit and Grandpa must have had a keen eye!  The sad part of the story is that she died when my Mom was 4 and Aunt Nancy was 3.  We visit her gravesite every year along with other family members who are buried there in Collamer near South Whitley, IN.

Next we go to North Manchester, IN to visit Benders Funeral Home where Grandpa was an embalmer.  After his wife died he quit the business.

We have such a good time retelling the stories that my cousins are now interested in taking the tour with us.  My cousin Dan Hoeppner asked to join us this year and of course we were thrilled to have his company.  We have a place on the trip where we always take pictures in front of the Indiana Street sign.  It on the street my grandparents met.

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

IMG_0200

Below: A clever way to organize Sisters’ scrapbooks!

IMG_0198

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

IMG_0196

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!

IMG_0192

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

IMG_0191

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

IMG_0186

SSMO Jubilee Sunday Celebrated


SSMO COMMUNICATIONS:

BEAVERTON — The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) paid tribute to seven Sisters who celebrated significant anniversaries of their years in committed, vowed religious life during the annual SSMO Jubilee Mass and reception.

The Jubilarians were honored on Sunday, July 29 at 1:30 p.m. in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in the SSMO Motherhouse. The SSMO campus is located at 4440 SW 148th Avenue, Beaverton. Additional information about the 2018 Jubilarians is available on the Sisters’ website.

“Each year we anticipate the celebration with our Jubilarians and honor them for their generous contribution to the life of our Community through their commitment to religious life and God,” said Sister Charlene Herinckx, Superior General of the SSMO.

With a combined 445 years of service, this year’s SSMO Jubilarians are: Sr. Angeline Sohler, celebrating 75 years; Sr. Mary Ann Hathaway, celebrating 70 years; Sr. Catherine Hertel, Sr. Delores Klupenger, Sr. John Therese Miller, Sr. Jean Marie Van Dyke, and Sr. Geraldine Brady celebrating 60 years of service.

IMG_8251

BELOW: Sr. Jean Marie VanDykeIMG_8254

BELOW: Sr. Catherine HertelIMG_8255

BELOW: Sr. John Therese MillerIMG_8256

BELOW: Sr. Angeline SohlerIMG_8257

BELOW: Sr. Mary Ann HathawayIMG_8258

BELOW: Sr. Geraldine BradyIMG_8259

BELOW: Celebrant Archbishop John VlaznyIMG_8283

Did I tell you about the Rhodies?


We often thought a row of rhododendrons on Camp Howard Road would look spectacular after several years growth.  The key was to get them growing.  Karen told me not to buy more than 20.  They were on sale though, I thought to myself why so few?  I bought 50!  We spray painted on the ground every 10 feet to space them out then started planting them.  After about the 10th plant I knew why she said to only buy 20.  God sent an angel in Bob Jaques from the Catholic Sentinel and his father.  They drove up just as we were about to fold and said, “Could you use some help?”  They helped us get over half of them planted that day.  Karen and crew finished it up the following week for which I will always be grateful to them.  Lesson learned!

IMG_9270IMG_9271IMG_9272IMG_9273IMG_9274

2018 Seminary Tea


The Seminary Tea, an annual opportunity for many area Catholics to come together and meet and visit with Archbishop Sample, Archbishop Vlazny, Bishop Peter Smith, several Priests of the Archdiocese, members of Religious Communities, in a formal setting complete with tea and dainties, all while raising money to support the efforts of Priest education!

My friend, Archbishop Alexander Sample, welcomed everyone in attendance and took a few moments to meet and greet everyone in the room.  It was a very nice day!

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 8.50.58 AM

Below: Archbishop Alexander Sample addresses attendees at the Seminary Tea at the Portland Golf Course April 25, 2018

IMG_8039

Below: Yours truly, pouring tea & coffee!

IMG_2656

Two new friends, Noreen Gatto Christianson and her sister, Barbara Gatto Gustafson!  We had a wonderful visit connecting dots!

IMG_2646

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.

IMG_6531IMG_6536IMG_6537IMG_6549