Among the 125 volunteers helping at the 2012 Beaverton Recycling Day was a group of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. The Sisters were able to greet and direct people in the more than 1,000 vehicles that came through the line. Beaverton residents not only brought items ready to recycle such as scrap metal, plastic, electronics and styrofoam, but they also donated more than 1,040 pounds of food for the Sunshine Pantry to feed local families.
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Each year in the early summer, many Sisters avail themselves of the opportunity to make a six-day silent retreat at the Motherhouse. According to our current Constitutions, each Sister makes an annual six- to eight-day retreat. Surprisingly, in the historical documents it is recorded that each summer only half of the Sisters made the retreat while the other half filled in all the tasks at the Motherhouse and at the orphanage: cooking, cleaning, laundry, care of the children, etc.
For some Sisters who serve at the Motherhouse all year, going to another location for retreat is ideal because it feels like it is possible to leave the work behind for a while. Some go to retreat houses and others make private retreats at the beach or other locations.
This year our retreat director at the Motherhouse is Bishop William Skylstad. Bishop grew up on an apple farm near Omak, Wash. and was ordained for the Diocese of Spokane in 1960. Later he served as the bishop of the Diocese of Yakima before being appointed as bishop of his home diocese of Spokane. Bishop Skylstad is a humble, holy and inspiring speaker. We are blessed to have him with us as our retreat director this summer.
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Greetings! For those who live in the western part of Oregon, I hope the “summer weather” has not dampened your summer activities! Our summer is filled with activities along with our usual tasks. The teachers both at the school and the ESOL programs are on break and readying themselves for the new groups of students coming their way in the fall.
Both Sr. Barbara Rose Sohler and Sr. Julie Doan received grants to attend teacher workshops. Details on their experiences will be shared in next month’s newsletter.
Some of our activities which you will read about in this issue include our participation in the recent Beaverton Recycle Day, a celebration with those who have served on this campus for 25 or more years, and our annual retreat—all in the midst of the sights and sounds of a major renovation project to replace the heating and air conditioning in the entire Motherhouse building. Next month’s issue will report on several more events and activities taking place later this summer.
Wonderful opportunities lie in store for the west wing of the Motherhouse! For 81 years, and up until the spring of 2011, our precious grade school students called this side of the Convent their school home. Now with the beautiful school building in the center of campus giving our K-8 students a new place to learn, the Sisters have the opportunity to consider how best to repurpose the west wing of the Motherhouse.
However, before any of the possibilities can be realized, some major shortcomings of the building need to be addressed. One issue is the heating system. Imagine keeping a window open year around in one room of the Convent so that the heat would come on in the grade school! Also, three points in the Sisters’ home have determined the heating for the entire 80+ year old building. Warm weather would make for very hot rooms, especially on the upper floors, as the Sisters have had no way to cool down their sleeping quarters.
Thankfully, all of these issues will soon be coming to an end with a major HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) renovation. One of the great features will be the ability for each Sister to make some choice about the temperature in her room. Turn of the century radiators have been removed from the building. Pipes are being strategically placed throughout the house to deliver water. Other pipes are being removed and the entire project is quite an amazing sight to take in as a spectator.
Watch the video below to get a flavor of some of the recent sights and sounds in our building, HVAC 101!
This past weekend, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon gathered to help move more than 125 years of Community archives from one wing of the Motherhouse to the other.
“When we put out a call for help among the Sisters, I was hoping we might get four or five volunteers,” said Sr. Krista von Borstel, one of the Community’s resident archivists. She was delighted to see 25 of her Community members show up excited and ready to assist.
While the maintaining of archives has always been a priority for the Community, the archive room has taken on many stages of completion and detail over the years as several devoted Sisters have spent countless hours chronicling the missions and ministries of each and every SSMO, living and deceased.
The main reason for the move was to prepare for an exciting change to the way the SSMOs handle and display archival materials. Since Valley Catholic Elementary School vacated the west wing of the convent last year to move across the street, the reclaimed space has provided many more options for the Sisters for future storage, conference rooms and office space throughout the whole building. The future plan is that the Community archives will be housed in four rooms in the west wing: one room will be used for the intake and sorting of materials, two for storage, and one for public display.
There will even be space for Sr. Krista to go through old movies of the Sisters and hopefully watch them on old projectors before they are digitized for future viewing.
Sr. Krista recalls a time when former Pope John Paul strongly encouraged religious Communities to work on their archives and keep their safekeeping and organization a priority. This task has always been a favorite project and source of joy for her, as well as for several other Sisters in the Community over the years.
“I think we got so much help that Saturday afternoon because the preservation of our history is meaningful to them and they didn’t want to miss out.”
1:45 p.m. Shot Gun Start Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club at Ghost Creek Course
A great reason to play golf!
At “A wHole in One,” you will enjoy 18 holes of scramble format golf, mingle with friends, and dine at the awards dinner while supporting The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and their sponsored ministries, including Valley Catholic and Maryville Nursing Home.
This community-building event will be held during Alumni Weekend and is for our families, friends and alumni. Now is the time to make plans to join us on the course. Entry fees will be $700 for a foursome and $175 for individual golfers.
Submitted by SSMO Foundation Development Director Sharlayne Buuck
On a sunny Saturday morning in May, folks gathered in the convent dining room for a Bethany Center workshop. Sr. Mary Bertoli, SNJM, a nationally recognized artist, shared stories about her time in the south, and how the unique people she encountered there inspired her. Sr. Mary uses torn tissue paper as her medium to create pieces of art that reflect the time she spent in the south. She highlighted the relationship between creativity and spirituality.
Two tables in the dining hall, heaped with brightly colored tissue paper, awaited guests. This tissue paper, in a multitude of colors, patterns and sizes, was soon to have new life! The sun crept in through the windows as those attending the workshop began to work on their own masterpieces. With Sr. Mary’s gentle guidance, everyone attending felt a sense of creativity. Each artist was encouraged to name their piece of art and share the story behind their new creation. It was a morning well spent!
The 2012-2013 Bethany Center Workshop schedule will be out soon. We are excited to offer a number of workshops beginning in the fall that will appeal to a variety of interests. Everyone is welcome to attend Bethany Center workshops. For more information, email Sr. Noreen or call her at 503-644-9181.
We are hoping that you noticed that you did not receive the June edition of A View from the Dome on June 1! (We won’t ask for a show of hands!) We have concluded that it would be helpful to set the first Wednesday of each month as our publication date in order to avoid weekends.
Summer does not mean much of a slow down in activities for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. June started with our participation in Beaverton’s Recycle Day and August concludes with our annual garage sale. Each month we will share with you the activities’ highlights and photos.
Meanwhile, may our summer days be not too hot and not too wet as we enjoy the beauty of God’s creation all around us.
Stacey Moon and a friend of hers inspired Beaverton High School students to donate over 100 library books for the ESOL program, books that will be placed in an ESOL Library for check-out next year.
Submtted by Sr. Catherine Hertel, SSMO Photos by Sr. Charlene Herinckx, SSMO
The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon recently concluded their first year of teaching for their ESOL program (English for Speakers of Other Languages). On May 15, students joined the Sisters and their family members for a final demonstration of their language skills and an international potluck. While Beginner I students read stories from primers, more advanced students read their own creations. Besides learning linguistic skills, students have formed lasting relationships with each other and with their teachers. Each student received a certificate in honor of their progress in learning English. Most students will be returning next fall for more advanced studies.
Approximately 20 ESOL volunteers celebrated at a final gathering on May 17 at the SSMO’s “Villa” and will be on deck again when classes begin again on Sept. 18, 2012.