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!

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.

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Begin General Chapter Meetings in Beaverton


The word is said to be derived from the chapter of the rule book: it is a custom under the Rule of Saint Benedict that monks or nuns gather daily for a meeting to discuss monastery business, hear a sermon or lecture, or receive instructions from the abbot/abbess, and as the meeting begins with a reading of a chapter from the Rule, the meeting itself acquired the name “chapter”, and the place where it is held, “chapter house” or “chapter room”.

The term was then extended to apply to other meetings. The term general chapter designates a monastic general assembly, usually of representatives from all of the monasteries of an order or congregation.

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) hold a general chapter every five years for the purpose of spiritual introspection, charting the course for the next five years and election of new leadership.

The Chapter was opened by Sr. Charlene Herinckx on Sunday March 22, 2015 with 61 members of the Congregation in attendance.  The meetings will conclude Saturday March 28th.


I Went to Camp Howard Today….Here’s the Scoop…

This was a PERFECT day to go to Camp Howard.  There was actually dust on the road!  A sure sign of spring!  Karen, Bill, Candi, Leila and I meet almost weekly to work on our camp improvements for next year.  We are reviewing all of the procedures and we have topics we surfaced during camp last year to discuss In the off season.  Some of those topics include”

  • Keeping the Summer Staff Safe
  • Improving our Emergency Procedures
  • Make sure kids things are packed up properly before they return to Portland
  • and several other topics.

We worked from 10:00 until noon then stopped for lunch.  After lunch, before we started the afternoon session, we went on a field trip to check out the progress on projects.   I can tell you the kids will be jumping for joy with some of the improvements!


Kids Jumping for Joy!


Eagle Scout Project – New Overnight Location with fire pit, logs and sleeping area!


Candi Trapp, Bill Fogarty, Leila Blakely, Karen von Borstel


Mt. Hood between the trees at Camp Howard!

IMG_6528Fircrest Unit overlooking the Bull Run Reservoir

What’s Up this week… Not to Miss!!!

1.  Sunday…Jubilee Sunday with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon – Celebrating anniversaries in Religious Life…One celebrating 75 years, (3) 60’s and (1) 50 years… Who are these fantastic women and what are their stories?

2.  Monday – Thursday Trap Camp at Camp Howard!  Shooting clay targets with shot guns!

3.  The Camp Store and how it operates and who operates it this year

4.  Behind the scenes at Camp Howard!  Who is behind the scenes and what are they doing?