What Happened on Holy Thursday?


Holy Thursday commemorates the activities leading up to the Passion of Christ.  The meal (Last Supper) takes place with a sense of foreboding.  The Gospel writers describe it as a Passover meal.  Jesus talks about the bread and wine as elements of his own body as he shares the bread and cup of wine with those present.  On this night, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and he announced that one of the twelve at the table would betray him.  Later in the evening, Jesus and his apostles retire to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed before being apprehended by members of the Sanhedrin and guards. He is taken away and will be crucified the next day, Good Friday.

Sr. Julie, Sr. Thuy, Sr. Michael Francine and Fr. Francis,  process through the chapel with candles & incense as part of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Members of the local community join the Sisters in the convent chapel for the service. #sistersofstmaryoforegon, 

We Chained Up and Got out of Town

Picture this!  Four Sisters pull out their Les Schwab tire chains, get out the directions and put them on the car for practice in case they need them on the summit of the coast range. Lets step back a few paces and get the full picture.  Sister Colleen Schmitt, Sister Alison Green, Sister Michael Francine and I had planned to go to the beach for Martin Luther King weekend.  A nice four day relaxing weekend to play cards, and celebrate Sister Michael Francine’s birthday on the 16th.

One of the Sisters passed away and the vigil and funeral were scheduled for two of the days of the vacation cutting it in half.  The ice and snow predictions were coming in full force and by 2:00 on Wednesday the 11th it was snowing hard and 6″ had dropped.  I paged the Sisters and asked them to meet me in the parlor where we talked about making the trip that afternoon since no one was at the beach house, and stay till Sunday afternoon which would give us 5 days at the beach!!!  Everyone was in.  We packed our bags and met at the car in an hour.

When we got back to the car, we got out the chains and practiced putting them on. Seemed like a good idea to make sure we could get them on easily and that they fit the car.  The Sisters were the dream team of chain gangs!  They got them on and the hard part was tightening them up.  We got it done, drove a short distance and tightened them again.  We were good to go.  Les Schwab puts out some good tire chains by the way!

We took the chains off and drove out to Murray Blvd., which was mostly open pavement. Our question was what would it be like on the Coast Summit?   If we needed the chains, we were in good hands!   We got past the memorial Tunnel and that was about where the snow and packed ice began.  As things got slippy we switched into 4 wheel drive and said the Rosary. Thanks be to God,  we made it fine!  We drove slowly, no one was on the road but us….good time to travel…and for about 10 to 15 miles were were in snow and ice conditions.

A ways beyond Camp 18 we ran out of snow and ice and had a glorious 5 days at Cannon Beach.  With two teachers in the group, we celebrated Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as news arrived that school was called for the following days.

Meanwhile, back in town…


I Drove Back for the Cabbage!

JANUARY 10, 2017 CYO/CH –Did I tell you what I saw this summer on my way to the office from Camp Howard?  The area has some very impressive “truck farms” which means they raise vegetables for local stores and sales.

The daily summer trips to and from camp from the office or from the convent or from the bus pick up and drop off, affords the opportunity to watch the entire process from planting to harvest of the cabbages and it is beautiful.

I am driving one day and I notice halfway down the field that they are planting the field with the cabbages.  I drive a little ways and I think to myself, “I haven’t seen the planting process in all of my twenty years of trips to the camp!  It will take an extra half hour of time but do it!”

I drove back and patiently waited for the men to get all the way to the end of the field then come back to the end I was at.  It was worth the wait and I would like to share my photos with you of what I saw.  Would you go back for the cabbage?


Planting a field of cabbage four rows at a time.


Above: Making the turn at the end of the row.


Above: refilling the containers with cabbage plants.  You can see the black circles with small plant holders in which each individual plant is placed.  With the help of some sort of mechanical mechanism, the plant drops and is guided by the two silver levers and the plant is planted!  The large orange wheels create a “seed bed” for the plants.


Above: four individuals take a seat on the chairs provided and keep the circular mechanisms filled with plants as two individuals follow for quality control.


Above: All seven of the workers were thrilled to be photographed.  Their work provided a lot of enjoyment for me through out the summer!

Top Summer Camp Position Filled With Top Notch Leader

JANUARY 9, 2017 CYO/CAMP HOWARD–Anna McLean will step into the position of Program Director at Camp Howard for the 2017 summer camping season.  Camp administration is pleased to name this position early in the year and look forward to working with her this summer.  The Program Director is seen through the eyes of the summer campers as the “Camp Director”.  That goal of the administrative staff behind the scenes such as Nora Gravengaard (Camp Director), Shawna King (Asst. Camp Director, Leila Blakely, (Health and Safety Director), Jolie Abraham Phanton, (CYO Office Liason), Karen von Borstel, (Camp Howard Property Director), and Sister Krista (Exec. Director) is to promote the youth in the Catholic Youth Organization to leadership roles.

McLean who has been a summer camper, Counselor in Training and on the summer staff for multiple years, brings a lot of “can do” to her role.  She has been around the camp for many years and has a thorough understanding of what works.

Camp Staff positions are being filled between now and June.  Individuals 18 years and older are sought to fill the nearly 60 positions available at the camp this coming summer.  Camper materials will be available very soon.  The snow and ice took a toll on our process at the end of December and early January!

BELOW: Anna McLean, 2016 Unit Director and part of the Big Swing and Zip Line crew, prepares a camper for a ride on the “Big Swing”!


My Thoughts on the Confederate Flag in South Carolina

I have really enjoyed studying the Civil War History these past 10 years as a personal hobby.  I have watched every film on President Lincoln that I can find.  One of my favorite films is called “Saving Lincoln” which is about his relationship with his body guard who was a friend of his prior to his election to president.

It was a very fragile time in the history of the country when Lincoln was elected.  The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when South Carolinians fired on federals stationed in Fort Sumter.  The Confederates had removed the American Flag from the Fort and replaced it with the Confederate flag.  One of Lincoln’s Union soldiers went to retrieve the flag and replace the American Flag and was shot in the heart.

This sparked a movement and thousands of people began to join forces with both sides.  Interesting side note: Senator Ned Baker from Oregon joined the Union.  He was a very good friend of President Lincoln prior to his election and Lincoln named one of his sons after Baker.

Shortly after the war began, Ned Baker was killed.  He was the only sitting Senator to be killed in any war.  Baker City was named for Ned Baker.  This death moved Lincoln to sob.

I personally do not think the Confederate flag should fly at any state capitol.  I think it is inappropriate for any flag other than the state flag and American flag to fly at government buildings.

I will go on to say that the freedom loving part of me believes that people have the right to fly the flag independent of state or federal entities.  A news reporter said it well this morning as the flag was removed.  He said that people will continue to fly the flag.  Some will do it with love, some will do it with hate,  some will do it well some will do it poorly and that is American.

Looking Back on the Fourth of July – Mollalla Does it up Right!

If you need a dose of patriotism and Christian values, there is nothing like a rodeo on the Fourth of July.  I attended the Mollalla Buckeroo for the evening show on the Fourth of July and had a fantastic time.  The announcer and his team along with the local community did a lot to focus on our servicemen and women and their contribution to our freedom.  A local home town hero was chosen to present the American Flag during the opening ceremonies and it sent chills through me and my friends.  The flags of the various armed services were presented by horseback as the riders rode around the arena with the flags whipping in the air.

We were all reminded of the fact that our country was built on Christian values and challenged us all to get on our knees and pray!  Awesome!

Of course I love a good rodeo and would like to make it to the Pendleton Roundup in the next few years.  I have attended the Sisters Rodeo several times and the St. Paul Rodeo once.

The Mollalla community did a super job with their rodeo and I really enjoyed it all from the bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and the fireworks were fantastic!

I will be back to the Mollalla Buckaroo and making plans to visit Pendleton!  Maybe a trip back to St. Paul too!

Karen, Claire and Judy enjoy the Mollalla Buckaroo on the Fourth of July.

Karen, Claire and Judy enjoy the Mollalla Buckaroo on the Fourth of July.

Waiting for the Saddle Bronc Riding!

Waiting for the Saddle Bronc Riding!

Presentation of the colors and the divisions of the armed forces at the Mollalla Buckaroo

Presentation of the colors and the divisions of the armed forces at the Mollalla Buckaroo

Remembering My Friend Sister Geraldine Bernards SSMO

I must pause and write a story about my friend, Sr. Geraldine.  I had the privilege of living with her at St. Therese convent which is attached to Maryville Nursing Home.  I was teaching at St. Mary of the Valley (Valley Catholic) at the time and lived with our Sisters who worked at the nursing home.  What a blessing to me to be around these Sisters.  Sister Geraldine and I had a lot in common.  We were both entrepreneurs, enjoyed people and spent very little time doing nothing!

She was the Director of Nurses at the time and had a heavy work schedule.  On Christmas and Thanksgiving she would put lunches and dinners on at the nursing home for the Staff who had to work and would not be at home for their meal.  They so appreciated that kind touch.  Several of us helped her out with it and I always made sure I was available to help her out.  She loved to cook so I was her chief bottle washer.

One of my favorite memories of her was the occasion of one of the many rummage sales we put on.  There was a tin Christmas tree that was really pretty cute but just wouldn’t sell.  On Saturday night before we cut all of the prices in half for Sunday we talked about how we could sell the tree.  We could either give it away….or increase the price!  We moved it from $12. to $50. and it went within the hour!  We chuckled about that for a long time.

When Sr. Geraldine celebrated 50 years in community she invited me to go on a trip to Alaska with her.  It was a fantastic adventure and I felt very honored to go.

After Sr. Theresa Margaret retired as CEO of Maryville, Sr. Geraldine became the administrator.  She was a visionary who made a lot of wonderful improvements to the facility.  Having been nurse, Director of Nurses and then Administrator, she really understood the work from top to bottom.

Sr. Geraldine passed away in May of this year.  She had suffered a stroke shortly after retiring from administrator of the nursing home.  She spent the last several years in our infirmary.  Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker was also her very special friend who went to school with her for nursing and worked at the nursing home side by side for many years.

I am a grateful soul for having witnessed the wonderful life of Sr. Geraldine Bernards.

Sister Theresa Ann Bunker, Sister Theresa Margaret Yettick (dec.), Sister Geraldine Bernards (dec.) 1997

Sister Theresa Ann Bunker, Sister Theresa Margaret Yettick (dec.), Sister Geraldine Bernards (dec.) 1997

Funeral service for Sr. Geraldine Bernards

Funeral service for Sr. Geraldine Bernards at the Sisters cemetery on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.