Submitted by Sr. Krista von Borstel
The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon invited all those who made gifts of food to the Sisters during the past year to an appreciation Mass & brunch on a Sunday in late November to show their gratitude. Several generous souls have gifted the Sisters with all kinds of wonderful food items. The Sisters, who make vows including poverty, choose to live simply. Living simply includes making the very best use possible of food gifts. Living simply enables our resources to be put to other uses.
Thanks to the gifts and talents of some of the Sisters, food is preserved through canning and freezing. Often, all of the Sisters will take part in a “peeling party” and several jars of fruit will be processed in the convent cannery. Applesauce is made from donated apples, and berries are frozen and served during the year. Squash is processed into soup and other food dishes. The Sisters are very resourceful and responsible, making sure that little to nothing goes to waste.
Those who donate food throughout the year not only help the Sisters temporally, but the gifts also help the ministries of the Sisters by allowing those resources not spent on food to go to other financial needs of the Community.
Dear Family and Friends,
In the A View from the Dome this month, we want to share with you a little about our life, our spirituality, our gratitude to those who donate from their gardens and orchards, our participation in the Maryville Christmas Craft Sale, and our relationship with our SSMO Associates.
While December may be the most hectic time of the year, it is also a most treasured time as it is sandwiched between the great feast of gratitude, Thanksgiving, and the joyous feast of the good news: that a Savior was born on Christmas Day. This is certainly a time of learning what our priorities are!
The Sisters wish you peace, joy, and patience during the Advent and Christmas season!
Sister Charlene Herinckx, SSMO
Submitted by Sr. Joyce Barsotti, SSMO
The gifts have been made, and the candy and cookies are ready. Shoppers will be welcomed this Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maryville Nursing Home on the SSMO campus at Murray and Farmington in Beaverton. Please join us for Christmas drinks and cookies and shopping for great hand-crafted and unique items. Renew memories of years past and contribute to the joy and festive celebrations for our honored residents at Maryville–all while gettting some shopping done.
The bazaar has a five-year tradition that brings the Christmas spirit to our friends and families at Maryville. Sisters Alberta Schwall and Marilyn LeDoux have joined with retired teachers from St. Matthew’s School in Hillsboro to prepare Christmas goodies and surprises for shoppers. The proceeds of the sale will serve to enhance the resources of the Activity Department at Maryville.
Print and post a flyer for the Christmas Bazaar here. >
Sr. Albert Schwall and volunteers are busy creating items for the bazaar.
Sr. Alberta Schwall displays a few of the hand-made items for the bazaar.
Sr. Marilyn Le Doux and volunteers work to prepare items for the bazaar.
Sr. Catherine Hertel (front left) and a few Associates show off the Sisters' coloring book created for their 125th Jubilee.
Submitted by Sr. Catherine Hertel, SSMO
For 125 years, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon have turned their courage and faith into action benefiting countless individuals and families throughout the Pacific Northwest—and beyond.
Did you realize that there are another 150 lay men and women called SSMO Associates who have joined their lives of prayer and service to that of the Sisters? They are “people of prayer living in simplicity and love and offering joyful compassionate service to the Lord.”
Just think of the families and acquaintances of the Sisters who are very active in their own parish and civic communities, serving God and others with great courage and faith. Or, closer to home, consider all of the employees working on the SSMO campus as people of prayer living in simplicity and love and offering joyful compassionate service to the Lord.
We would like to invite people of prayer living in simplicity and love and offering joyful compassionate service to the Lord to consider the idea of becoming Associates of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, uniting your prayer and service with that of the Sisters.
Some Associates gather each month to consider some of the key elements of the SSMO Spirituality. If you are thinking about becoming an Associate and would like to “test the waters,” you are welcome to attend one of the following gatherings:
| December 11
||People of Compassion/ People of Filial Love
| January 8
|| Joyful Servants
| February 5
| April 15
|| Marian People
| May 20
|| People of Zeal
For more information, contact:
Sr. Catherine Hertel
4440 SW 148th Avenue
Beaverton, Oregon 97007
This statue of St. Francis Xavier, SJ, is in the chapel at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.
Submitted by Sr. Charlene Herinckx, SSMO
Given the name of our Community, no one would be too surprised to read that the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon honor Mary, the mother of Jesus, as our special patron saint. Our founding bishop, Archbishop William H. Gross, was a Redemptorist priest and had a special devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Some might think our reverence and honoring of St. Francis Xavier, SJ, as a Community patron is because of the guidance of the Jesuits in our early history. But the devotion to St. Francis came even earlier in our history through the influence of the Precious Blood Community from which our first Sisters received their formation. The Missionaries of the Precious Blood have a special devotion to Sr. Francis Xavier because the mother of their Founder prayed to St. Francis for the restoration of the health of her child. Thus, her gratitude and devotion to St. Francis was passed on to her son and then to the religious communities which he founded.
SSMO Constitutions #4 reads:
We are a Community dedicated to the Mother of God and we look upon Mary as a model of faithful discipleship and Christian womanhood. Under her patronage and that of Saint Francis Xavier, we share our foundresses’ zeal for bringing God’s love to all people.
St. Frances Cabrini
Did you know that one Friday evening each month the Sisters schedule a Reconciliation Service? The prayer service, which is developed by one or two Sisters, is held prior to an opportunity for private confession.
The following day we have what is called our monthly Recollection Day. It is time for prayer and quiet reflection. This year the Spirituality Committee has chosen to use the life and words of particular saints for the reflection materials prepared for the day.
In October, we focused on St. Francis of Assisi. Print your own St. Francis of Assisi reflection sheet here. >
This month the special saint is St. Frances Cabrini. Although she was born in Italy, she is the first citizen of the United State to be canonized a saint. You may print your own reflection sheet here for St. Frances Cabrini >.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
In a decision which Governor Kitzhaber did not take lightly, he stated recently: “It is time for this state to consider a different approach. I refuse to be a part of a compromised and inequitable system any longer, and I will not allow further executions to take place while I am governor.”
The following is a document written in August of 1997 stating the decision made by vote of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon congregation regarding capital punishment:
“The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon announce that their members have voted, by an overwhelming majority, to support a Corporate Stand Against Capital Punishment. In the Ministry Directional Paper of their 1995 Chapter of Affairs, the Sisters stated, ‘We have witnessed our corporate concern for justice and human dignity.’
“In solidarity with the Bishops of the United States, we accept and make our own the following statement: ‘In view of our commitment to the value and dignity of human life, we oppose the use of capital punishment. We believe that the use of the death penalty is leading to, indeed can only lead to, further erosion of respect for life in our society. We do not question society’s right to punish the offender, but we believe that there are better approaches to protecting our people from violent crimes than resorting to executions. In its application, the death penalty has been discriminatory toward the poor, the indigent and racial minorities. Our society should reject the death penalty and seek methods of dealing with violent crime which are more consistent with the Gospel vision of respect for life and Christ’s message of healing love.’ (U.S. Bishops’ Statement on Capital Punishment, 1980).”
The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon believes that its position against capital punishment reflects Gospel values and is consistent with the social teachings of the Church.
How is it that I entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon? You could say I slipped in the back door when no one was looking! I was raised in a small rural Catholic community where the SSMOs had begun teaching in 1912 at St. Francis School in Roy, Oregon. Thus the Sisters taught my parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins and in some cases, my nieces and nephews. Small wonder I could so easily come in the back door without much fuss! The SSMOs were a vital part of my family and my faith development. In addition, when I entered, the Superior General at the time was one of my mom’s favorite teachers!
But entering was only the first step in becoming a member of this group that already felt like family to me. When I consider the ways my Sisters have encouraged and supported me to use my God-given talents and abilities, I am filled with gratitude that my ministry has been enhanced because of them.
My ministry has varied from teacher to boarding school director, and formation and vocation directors to community leadership. What I recognize now is that a particular ministry is not the crux of the matter. What matters is being there for others, nurturing, supporting, and transmitting our Faith – just like the SSMOs did for my family beginning in 1912.