Through Bethany Center, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon offer lifelong learning opportunities to women and men throughout the greater Portland community.

The Bethany Center offers a rich array of programs and lectures. Unless otherwise indicated, Bethany Center presentations take place in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Motherhouse building, located on Murray Blvd. between TV Highway and Farmington Rd.

To register for Bethany Center workshops, please contact Sister Barbara Rose Sohler at 503-644-9181 or by email at Free-will offerings are gladly accepted.

To further enrich our campus and community, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation hosts a companion Bethany Center Speakers Series.

Our 2016-2017 Events

sr-mollie-reavisInterfaith Dialogue in Today’s World: Christian-Muslim Relations | Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 | 9:00-11:30 a.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon will open their 2016-2017 Bethany Center series by welcoming Sr. Mollie Reavis of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

A high school teacher and administrator for 44 years, Sr. Mollie studied Muslim-Christian relations at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Georgetown University. She has been a member of the local Institute for Christian/Muslim Understanding since it was founded in 2003.

Sr. Mollie will share her perspective on Christian-Muslim relations as she has experienced it in our area.  She will explain what Church documents say about Muslims and Islam as well as share what Muslim scholars have said about Christians. She believes that interfaith dialogue is essential in today’s world.


gordonnewAdvent Retreat | Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Before the rush of the Christmas season envelops your world, take time for a renewing pause to wait with Mary for the birth of our greatest blessing.

The Advent Retreat will be directed by Fr. Charles Gordon, CSC.

Ordained in 1987, he taught theology in Kenya, earned a doctorate at Cambridge University and eventually found his way to the  University of Portland, where he teaches theology and Catholic literature.




SSMO ValentineTea DomeValentine Tea | Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 | 1:30-4:00 p.m.

Bethany Center is proud to host one of its most popular events – a Valentine English Tea. You will be treated to culinary treats lovingly prepared by the Sisters.

We continue to find new ways to reach out to those in need. As a fundraiser to support our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, you will have an opportunity during the tea to “take a chance” in drawings for various handcrafts made by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. Viewing of these items begins at 1:15 p.m.

The tea begins at 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited. Fee: $25 per person. Prepaid reservations are required by Feb. 1. Contact Sr. Noreen Orazio at 503-644-9181, extension 5099, or by email at


sr-mary-hughesEmbracing Religious Life in the Future with Enthusiasm and Joy | Saturday, April 29, 2017 | 9:00-11:30 a.m.

What will religious life be like in the future? No one knows for certain, but there are some signs that hint of various possibilities. What can be said at this time about how to embrace this ever-changing reality that is being revealed now? What qualities will be needed to live religious life with joy and enthusiasm?

A Dominican Sister of Amityville, New York, Sr. Mary Hughes, OP, is director of transitional services for the national Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR), providing consultation and assistance to religious institutes of women. She also serves as adjunct professor at Fordham University, teaching a course on the spirituality of leadership.


About Bethany Center

Bethany Center began in the late 1980s as a discussion between Sister Noreen Orazio and Sister Barbara Jean Laughlin on the need for a resource center on the west side of Portland where people could come together to learn, talk, listen, contemplate and pray.

Today, Bethany Center, which was established in 1990, continues that tradition through spiritual retreats, seminars and adult religious education. Qualified professionals lead seminars in many areas, including such topics as comparative religions, spirituality and the environment, domestic violence, grief and dying, homelessness, sacramental theology, servant leadership, art music, the psycho-spiritual approach to aging, communication from birth to death, and much more.

Sister Barbara Rose Sohler, who coordinates Bethany Center programs, issues an invitation. “Whether you’re a regular visitor to our campus or are coming here for the first time, you will find that Bethany Center is a place where you can take part in classes and workshops or spend quiet time. Join us, enrich yourself and be nurtured.”