I have spent the last four months teaching eighth grade religion at Valley Catholic Middle School here on our Beaverton campus, and I am enjoying the fun and craziness of being a first year teacher. From roller skating to school wide Masses to outdoor school, this semester has been filled with a variety of activities. In class, I am teaching my students about the Catholic faith, traditions, and history. We have prayed the rosary, had a crash course in navigating the Bible, and have covered the first 1000 years of history of the Catholic Church. Recently, we learned about St. Genesius, the patron saint of actors. In his honor, some of the students put on a skit reenacting the trial of another saint, Perpetua (and they did a lovely job).
In addition to teaching Church history, I have been brushing up on Christian history by taking a class on the subject through the University of Portland. Much of the material we covered is a bit too advanced to discuss at the middle school level, but I appreciate how this class has ignited my enthusiasm for the subject. I wrote a term paper on Thomas Merton’s teachings about how detachment can lead one to live as the best version of oneself, the person God has created one to be. It’s a deeply moving topic which tends to make my head hurt when I try to comprehend what is beyond comprehension. All in all, this has been an interesting semester, and I am looking forward to what comes next.
Submitted by Sr. Charlene Herinckx
There’s something new about the 2012 Valentine Tea which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. here at the Motherhouse!
To celebrate our 125th Jubilee year, “Mother Wilhelmina” will be present to tell her story about the beginning of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. We will also have a raffle of handcrafted items made by the Sisters. All proceeds will benefit our ministry to teach English to adult students of other languages. Our honored guests at this year’s event will be Sisters John Therese Miller, Juliana Monti and Denise Klaas, who for nine years have provided the musical entertainment during the tea.
Won’t you come and join us? Seating is limited to 54 guests; reservations and payment ($25 per person) should be made through Sr. Noreen Orazio as soon as possible. If you have questions, please call her at (503) 644-9181. The Valentine Tea will once again be held at our Motherhouse in Beaverton, 4440 SW 148th Avenue, Beaverton, 97007.
Click here to print off a flyer to share with your friends >
See below some of the handcrafted items that will be raffled. Click on them to see a close-up version.
Good Morning and Happy New Year!
The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon wish you many blessings in 2012 and we hope that your Christmas celebration was filled with the joy and peace that our Savior promised us! In this issue of A View from the Dome, we have provided the reflection material (Our Lady of Guadalupe) used by the Sisters on their Recollection Day in December as well as what will be used in January (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton). If you have found these materials to be useful or interesting, we would love to hear from you.
The Valentine Tea in February will be the 10th one hosted by our Community. We have added a new dimension this year as you will read in the article.
The Sisters love being with students whenever possible as you will read in the articles about the VCHS Student Body Officers and about the long-standing program involving seventh-grade students.
This issue will list future dates when our vocation director, Sr. Michael Francine Duncan, will be hosting “Come and See” opportunities for women who are interested in learning more about religious life today. If you or someone you know would like to participate, please give Sister Michael Francine a call. You can learn more about Sr. Michael Francine by reading the “Meet the Sisters” article.
After the full schedules in December, we all could use a gentler pace in January. May your New Year’s resolutions become reality.
Sr. Charlene Herinckx
SSMO Superior General
Submitted by Sr. Joyce Barsotti
More than a decade ago, Sister Delores Klupenger decided that her health issues and lack of mobility would not prevent her from sharing in the mission of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. Aware of the lack of opportunity for the students at Valley Catholic to have contact or a personal relationship with individual Sisters, she envisioned a program that would bring the students to the Sisters who could no longer be involved full time in active apostolic work.
With the help of Jennifer Gfroerer ’87, then the administrator and now the principal of Valley Catholic Middle School, Sr. Delores arranged for the students to visit the convent weekly to meet in small groups with a Sister as part of their religion and service classes. Sr. Delores encouraged other Sisters living at the Motherhouse to volunteer to meet weekly with a small group of students. Sisters were encouraged to share hobbies, interests, vocation stories, and family histories with the students.
One of the students’ favorite experiences is the guided tour of the convent. They have also made bread, baked cookies, created bead rosaries, designed original greeting cards, learned calligraphy, and heard many interesting stories from the Sisters on both their current lives and their family stories.
As she evaluated those first years of the program, Mrs. Gfroerer recognized this as an opportunity for the students to learn academic and life skills as well as come to know the Sisters personally. She created a guide for interviewing and a curriculum for the program that incorporates writing and creative communication skills.
Today every seventh-grade student at Valley Catholic participates in this weekly encounter. The students get to know two Sisters, one the first semester and another in the second semester. The Sisters and students are blessed with a bond, a new understanding of one another, and prayers for each other.
Submitted by Sr. Charlene Herinckx, SSMO
On Saturday, Dec. 17, 185 families from the Mt. Angel area received boxes stuffed with fruits, vegetables, milk, bread, butter, tortillas, flour, sugar, desserts and canned goods at St. Joseph Shelter in Mt. Angel. In addition to food, there were clothes and toys to suit the needs of each household.
Churches and agencies from all over western Oregon had generously shared of their bounty, while Sr. Marcella Parrish, SSMO, Sr. Terry Hall, OSB, and local volunteers had spent weeks collecting and organizing the gifts. Eight Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon joined Sr. Marcella and the Benedictines from Mt. Angel to assist at the various stations with food staples as runners first matched each family’s number with the boxes prepared for them. Boys from the local football team helped families load their cars.
The gift of Christ’s love filled the air.
In December we honor Mary as the patroness of the Americas under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin near Mexico City in 1541. It wasn’t until 2002 that the man to whom she appeared was recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church. St. Juan Diego’s feast day is December 9, and the feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12.
Click here for an informational sheet on Our Lady of Guadalupe with reflection questions. >
Submitted by Sr. Michael Francine Duncan, SSMO
The first Sister of St. Mary of Oregon I met was Sr. Joyce Barsotti. She was hosting an evening retreat, “Come and See,” at St. Vincent Parish in Salem, Ore. It was in March, very rainy, and I was the only person to show up for the retreat. It was very intimidating for me to be the only one to attend with five Sisters whom I just met for the first time. I trusted God to know what was good for me and I found myself praying my way through the retreat. I liked all the Sisters who were there and eventually became comfortable. I took brochures of the different religious orders and went home.
A few days later I called Sr. Joyce and we spoke about reading material. I visited her and chose a Thomas Merton book, Seven Story Mountain. As I read the book, it pretty much helped change my life and inspired my interest and commitment to seek out a religious life.
I visited the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon several times and started to discern with the Sisters. As I learned more about the Sisters’ daily routine, I found that the rhythm of prayer and work resonated with my heart. One of the Sisters who helped me enormously was Sister Angeline Sohler. We worked together in the SSMO Foundation Office, and I appreciated her quiet and creative personality. I entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in 1998. Sr. Angeline has been a friend and support during all my years with the Sisters.
I have experienced several different ministries, and now as Vocation Director, I am able to help women who are interested in religious life. I assist them in navigating their spiritual yearnings and the practicalities of investigating their vocational call to religious life. I also work as a mental health counselor, and this I enjoy very much.
My hobbies and interests are in art, crafts, reading and hiking. I enjoy volunteer work at Camp Howard, trying my hand at any jobs that need to be done, especially cutting grass, pruning and other yard work.
Did you know that a woman was responsible for the origins of the Catholic School system in the United States? Did you know that she was married, had five children, and became the foundress of a religious community (Sisters of Charity) in the United States? Read more about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and reflect on her life and words.
Her Feast Day is celebrated on Jan. 4 and she is the patroness we pray to with these concerns: death of children, difficulties with in-laws, loss of parents and widows.
Click here to print your copy of the January reflection of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. >
Submitted by Sr. Krista Von Borstel, SSMO
As part of a SSMO Leadership Team meeting recently, we met with the Student Body Officers from Valley Catholic High School. As we introduced ourselves to each other, we each shared our first memory of being on campus or of meeting the Sisters as well as why we chose to serve in leadership in our respective locations.
Among the many reasons the students cited for their desire to serve as leaders, we heard from a couple of students that attending Valley Catholic is the best thing that has ever happened to them. They said they wanted to make that be true for others and to give back!
Their sharing made us very proud and happy!
From left to right: Sr. Joyce Barsotti, Sr. Charlene Herinckx, Sr. Catherine Hertel, Rebecca Baglai, Allie Lambert, Greg Ong, Katie Ford, Nick Konen, Dylan LeMay, Connor Garcia and Sr. Krista Von Borstel. Not pictured: Rachel Feldhaus.