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

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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Part 4: The Dedication of Mary’s Lodge


Plenty of friends were on hand to help us dedicate and celebrate the new Mary’s Lodge at Camp Howard.  The donors, architects, builders, fundraisers, fun raisers, camp staff, year around staff, campers, parents, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon,  you name it, they were there!  THANK YOU all for being a part of our special day!  Fr. Dave Gutmann, Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish blessed the facility and all present.  It was a truly remarkable day and one that all who were there will remember fondly.

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Fr. Dave Gutmann and the guests give Sr. Krista a surprise blessing!

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Sr. Krista and Fr. Dave after the dedication of Mary’s Lodge!

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.

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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

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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Congratulations SSMO Sister Thuy and Sister Colleen!!!!


UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND SUNDAY MAY 7, 2017

IMG_2647.jpg Sister Colleen Schmitt and Sr. Thuy Nguyen graduated from the University of Portland on Sunday to the delight of twenty of their Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon cheerleaders!  It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate the two women who work in the ministries of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

A party was held afterword in their honor at the Motherhouse of the Sisters in Beaverton.  #sistersblogs, #cyocamphoward, #sistersofstmaryoforegon, #ssmo

BELOW: Sister Thuy Nguyen (left) and Sister Colleen Schmitt enjoy a candid photo before the ceremony begins.

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