Submitted by SSMO Foundation Staff Grace Le Chevallier, Helen Connor and Sharlayne Buuck
Six weeks ago when we were asked to consider joining the Sisters on their bus trip to Sacramento to see the “Women & Spirit” exhibit at the California Museum, we were thrilled with the opportunity and unsure of what the trip would hold. There was no doubt in our minds that the three of us were honored to be invited.
Two days prior to our departure, we were presented with a travel book complete with an itinerary, bus games, prayers and songs. The familiar songs, Mockingbird Hill, You Are My Sunshine and Clementine, immediately sent the message that this was sure to be a joyful event.
We knew the Sisters were being provided with treat bags for the trip, but it was a pleasant surprise to find out that we had been included as well. The bags, hand stitched by Sr. Diana Jean, were filled with goodies to enjoy along the way.
Our send off to Sacramento at 8 a.m. on a Friday at the end of April was a touching moment, with many Sisters present to wave goodbye. When we boarded the bus, familiar faces appeared different to us as we saw some Sisters in casual, vacation clothing and not the typical black, blue and white. The Sisters made us feel so welcome and included that it did not take us long to feel comfortable.
With 34 passengers aboard, the bus was buzzing with excitement. Until then, we had no idea that a trip like this was such a rare occurrence for the Community. Knowing this made being a part of the trip that much more special.
Viewing the exhibit gave us a clear understanding of the role Sisters played in history. It was encouraging to see that the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon mirror the stories that were shared at the exhibit. The exhibit opened our eyes to the endless roles that women religious have in our society today.
The trip to Sacramento gave us the opportunity to deepen our personal relationships with the Sisters. We spent a total of 24 hours traveling on the bus together. During the weekend we dined with them, we attended Mass together, we prayed and laughed together. They extended the warmth of their Community to us and to all with whom they came in contact with throughout the weekend.
As we reflect on the trip we genuinely feel it exceeded our expectations. We will recall the weekend with fond memories, and truly feel it was a chance of a lifetime!
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