Candidate von Borstel

October 12, 2020

20 days till National Vocation Awareness Week

#5 in a series of 25

Carol and Krista begin the candidacy phase of religious life with the Sisters of Sr. Mary of Oregon in February of 1980.
After being accepted in a ceremony as a “candidate”, Krista is welcomed and hugged by Sister Fidelis Kreutzer. Superior General (1980) of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Before officially entering a community, a woman will spend 6 months to a few years while she and the membership get to know one another.  Our community calls this stage “candidacy,” while when I entered it was called “postulancy.”

I entered in February of 1980 and wrote a handwritten letter prior to August 15, 1980 to request admission into the novitiate.  Sister Fidelis Kreutzer was Superior General (leader) of our community at that time and was a very special person to me.

As a “candidate” I spent the next 6 months helping out wherever needed, was given a schedule of projects to accomplish and started at the very basic level of getting to know what this life was all about.  I started wearing a black skirt and a white blouse.  I did not wear a veil and I was not called, “Sister.” 

I had a classmate, who joined with me and we were a team figuring things out together.  She had just graduated from high school and me from college.  Little did we know the exciting things that lay ahead for us.  I was ready!

Why Religious Life over Boeing?

October 11, 2020

21 days till National Vocation Awareness Week

1979 Krista and blood sister, Karla von Borstel at Sigma Kappa, OSU

A former student texted me the question, “What qualified you for work at Boeing and why did you choose religious life over Boeing?”

Great question and one that many people in my situation may struggle with.  Returning to that religious experience I wrote about earlier this week where I realized the importance of and shortness of a life, I reflected with Sr. John Therese about my decision to go to Boeing.  In my mind I knew there was the possibility that once I got wrapped up in work and life at Boeing, the convent would become a thought of the past.  Was it worth risking the opportunity and desire I had always longed for, to live a religious life?  It did not take much wisdom from Sr. John Therese for me to see the value in making a decision to enter the convent.

The thought of working for Boeing as a college graduate was very enticing to me.  My degree in Industrial Arts with studies in mass production and process management were particularly desired at that time and they contacted several of us at the University to consider working for them.  I had completed the extensive background check and was ready to go!  Fortunately, I made that trip to the convent.

I have often reflected on how grateful I have been to have worked at Valley Catholic, CYO and Camp Howard over the years.  I have always considered the kind of work I do to be “heart work”.  A work that fulfils the heart and gives meaning to life.  God is never outdone in his generosity to us or the plans he has for our lives.  We just have to be willing to trust him and say “yes”.

SSMO Jubilee Sunday Celebrated


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.


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

Congratulations SSMO Sister Thuy and Sister Colleen!!!!


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.


Museum Exhibit Was Fantastic

Saturday morning we loaded  the bus and headed to the California Museum in Sacramento to visit the Women & Spirit Exhibit about the History of Religious Women in America.  It was very inspirational and something that made us feel really good about the women who helped shape the country.  It was really very moving.  I did take some clips of the exhibit which was allowed so after some editing will share the clips I took.

One interesting tidbit I discovered was about the Mayo Clinic.  It was started by the Sisters and they asked Dr. Mayo if he would work at the hospital if they built it and provided the support!  He said he would and the rest is history!

Because this was the traveling exhibit, it was the featured exhibit and quite large.  After spending about three hours in this section, I could not believe that much time had passed, I then went around to the other exhibits which I described yesterday.  I was especially interested in finding “Ishi” the last wild Indian in America.  It was very interesting and I enjoyed reading the material about it.

We spent the entire morning at the museum and by 1:00 had pretty much seen everything so people broke up into small groups and headed for all points in Sacramento.  My group headed for Old Sacramento which we really enjoyed especially the old hardware store.  Lots of great things to see in this town loaded with history.  After lunch we went to the Train Museum.  Wow…what a place two stories of locomotives…full size…took you through the ages in trains.  Also included a large wing on toy trains.  Incredible building and the content was fantastic – Highly recommend to all train lovers!

Wonderful shops to visit all around Old Sacramento and as 5:00 approached we made our way to the Cathedral for Mass.  The Cathedral was recently renovated and as we learned yesterday, the architect and overseer of the renovation was done by the uncle of our friend, Colleen Nistler, known by many of you.  Her uncle did a GREAT job.  It is beautiful!  Pics to come later.

After Mass, ten of us headed over to the Pyramid restaurant across from the Cathedral and we had a wonderful dinner outdoors where we could enjoy the facade of the Cathedral and people walking .  It was a great evening!  After dinner we headed for our hotel and I have to tell you…I was tired!  I did not even get into the pool!  Just went to sleep!

I can assure you that we all had a great day yesterday.  It was a remarkable event for us and one that I am glad to have taken part in.  Today we head back to Portland on our “Noahs Ark.”  It will be a lot of fun as this group of 44 has really had a wonderful time building community and enjoying the entire trip.

See you soon!


Sacramento Morning Day 2…

We got into the Best Western last night and found our way to our rooms.  The rooms were spacious and wonderful and after a 13 hour bus ride it was such a welcome sight!  It was not hard to fall asleep!  Seven pillows on each bed?  This morning I processed a little video tape that I took yesterday at the Heaven on Earth restaurant.  I told you about Rosie who got out her guitar to share a song she wrote about the place.  It is quite charming.

We will be leaving here at 9:30 this morning and heading to the museum.  There are several exhibits there and I plan to take almost all of them in. Of course the purpose of our trip is to see the one featuring the History of Religious Life in America which originated in the Smithsonian Institute.

One that sounds interesting to me is the 100th Anniversary of Ishi’s discovery, an enhanced display chronicling the life and legacy of “the last wild Indian in North America”

California’s Remarkable Women 2011 – Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Women’s suffrage.

2011 California Hall of Fame – This will showcase the personal artifacts of the visionaries, legends and dreamers in the class of 2011 inductees – that should be interesting depending on who they are!

Tuskegee: Journey to Flight – Celebrates the gallant African-American men and women who broke barriers as  aviation heroes of WWII, as well as champions of equality.

California Indians: Making a Difference – featuring Native voice and over 400 extraordinary artifacts

California Innovates: The Computer Chip

Explores the impact of the computer chip – I will take this one in so I will have something to say when I sit down with one of my friends from Intel! 🙂

Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII


What has Sidelined the Sisters on their Way to Sacramento?…


6:00 am started the day, as usual with Liturgy of the Hours followed by Mass in the Convent Chapel.  7:00 am With excitement, the Sisters went to breakfast, anxious to bring their suitcases down and load the bus!  Discussion at breakfast included itinerary for the day and what the Sisters would be doing who would stay at home.  Waffles?  Chinese Food?  Sr. Rita (Motherhouse Superior) pulled out all the stops to make the weekend special for those who would stay behind.

Breakfast did not take as long this morning as people had things to do before leaving!  Shortly after breakfast, 7:45 am, Sister Charlene announced over the convent intercom that the bus had arrived and it was time to gather and load the bus. The elevators came to a grinding halt as they were called to third, fourth, and fifth floor all at the same time to move the luggage to ground level (you had to be there!)

The Sisters loaded onto the busses with remarkably frugal bags of “stuff” except for me, of course, who had to drag my cameras along to document the trip.  We staked out our areas on the bus and got comfortable as the driver closed the door and began to back the bus out of the loading area near the convent bakery and garages wing.  My heart was touched by all of the people who came out to say good by (Sisters and lay people alike) and wave as we rode down the Sisters’ driveway in front of the old gym and swimming pool.  Staff came out of several doors of the convent to see the sight and wish us a good and safe trip.  We all mentioned how touching it was.

Not long after exiting the driveway, Sr. Charlene led us in a prayer for a safe journey.  We all joined in – using the booklet that was thoughtfully put together for us.

We picked up a few Sisters and guests along the way, Sister Patricia Marie in Medford and Sister Allison’s Mother in Roseburg.

We stopped at Azalea, OR at a place called “Heaven on Earth” where we were treated to cinnamon rolls and coffee – compliments of the bus company Noah’s Ark!  I highly recommend this stop, as it is quite a remarkable place.  One of the staff by the name of “Rosie” entertained us with a song she wrote and told us the story of the establishment.  Rosie has worked at this endeavor for 30+ years and is a dedicated soul.  She will be highlighted in a post later tonight.

Currently 6:30 pm, we are in Redding, CA at Logan’s Roadhouse for dinner.  We will arrive in Sacramento approximately 8:30 this evening, God willing, at Sutter’s Inn Best Western.

We are having a BLAST and remembering YOU in PRAYER.  We would all like to hear from you so please respond to these posts and I will share them with the Sisters.  Thanks for reading and responding!

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