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…

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Guess Who Won the SSMO Singles Bocce Tournament…?


There were thirty-three entries in the SSMO Singles Bocce Tournament August 14th during a barbecue picnic on the eve of Final Vows for Sr. Alison Green and Temporary Vows for Sr. Anna Nguyen!  Rain threatened but did not dampen the SSMO patio barbecue where hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken skewers were the main attraction prior to “The Event.”

It is obvious that the Sisters have been practicing and the game was taken to another level Friday evening as the Sisters invited relatives and friends of Sister Alison and Sister Anna.  Archbishop Vlazny was among those vying for the honor of first singles winner on the new court AND the first singles tournament played.  The annual tournament has always been a doubles tournament so this was a game changer!  BUT…did he win?  NO…read on…

Archbishop Vlazny joins the SSMO singles bocce tournament 2015

Archbishop Vlazny joins the SSMO singles bocce tournament 2015

What about the Contractor from PC Construction?  Did he win?  NO…read on…

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The contest came down to two people…Sr. Michael Francine and Lee Green, father of Sr. Alison.  It was one of the best contests of the tournament with each ball thrown taking the lead.  Sister Michael Francine threw a ball that nestled right up to the jack and the question was…would Lee be able to knock her ball out and win?

Nope…The SSMO tournament was won by Sr. Michael Francine and it was a great contest to participate in and watch.

Lee Green throws his final ball.

Lee Green throws his final ball.

Sister Michael Francine and Lee Green congratulate one another for a great contest and tournament.

Sister Michael Francine and Lee Green congratulate one another for a great contest and tournament.

Lee and Sr. Michael Francine ham it up!

Lee and Sr. Michael Francine ham it up!

Sister Michael Francine is the big winner with bragging rights!

Sister Michael Francine is the big winner with bragging rights!

Meanwhile…Back at the Convent…What’s all that Construction on Campus You Ask?


Exciting times on the campus of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon!  Who can get excited about a renovated parking lot?  When it adds several extra spots and addresses the underground water collection etc. it is pretty exciting huh?  The entrance to the back of the campus is also being changed as Murray Blvd. makes changes.

The old gym was taken down this spring to make way for a much needed campus maintenance facility and space for the maintenance Dept. to call home.  Personally I am very excited about this and look forward to the facility being finished!  It will greatly enhance the campus with the capabilities of really being able to take care of maintenance needs very professionally!

And the Sisters, are doing something fun for the community, putting in a bocce court and patio for outdoor activities.  We will be enjoying the bocce court this next week during community days so I will be sure to share that soon.  Meanwhile, here are some photos from this past week.

Bocce court and patio begins to take shape.

Bocce court and patio begins to take shape.

Walls begin to go up on the new maintenance facility.

Walls begin to go up on the new maintenance facility.

moving dirt around to make room for a new location for the dumpster near the new parking lot.

moving dirt around to make room for a new location for the dumpster near the new parking lot.

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.

Join me at the Convent During Spring Break for our Election of Community Leadership!


Join me this coming week as I will be at home in Beaverton with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon where we will finish what has been a year long journey of preparing for elections of the new community Leadership Team!  I will give you some behind the scenes insights into this historic process.

By the end of next week (Spring Vacation) we will look for white smoke over the dome!

Convent Note Re Superbowl…


You may or may not wonder….how do the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon feel about such things as the Superbowl?

Lots of Seahawk fans!

Part of the Sisters daily routine is Evening Prayer which is said just before the evening meal.

I had to take a photo of the note posted outside the Chapel because this just doesn’t happen!!!

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Thanksgiving at the Convent 2013


Here is hoping that you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving.  As for me, well we do pretty well at the convent with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.  The Sisters begin the day with Mass then it is off to the kitchen where we begin to prepare our dishes for the community.  I signed up for the TURKEY this year and I would like to thank BOB and ROGER our wonderful cooks for the help they provided me in making sure it turned out just right.

Most of the Sisters started from scratch on their meal contributions but the TURKEY is the star of the show on Thanksgiving!  Bob and Roger made sure it was perfect and ready to go which means they cooked it, carved it and put it in a “hotel pan” ready to heat up and serve to the Sisters on Thanksgiving!  Thanks guys!  I got it heated up just fine…poured the  heated broth over it then put it in the oven for 40 minutes…simple!

Thought you would enjoy some pictures from the convent from this past weekends Thanksgiving feast with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon!

It all begins with Holy Mass!

It all begins with Holy Mass!

Sister Anna Hertel and Sister Catherine Hertel team up for the fruit salad!

Sister Anna Hertel and Sister Catherine Hertel team up for the fruit salad!

A Thanksgiving decoration

A Thanksgiving decoration

What, Julienned carrots?

What, Julienned carrots?

Potatoes all cut up and ready to cook

Potatoes all cut up and ready to cook

Sr. Theresa Lan

Sr. Theresa Lan

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Team work!

Team work!

Sister Theresa Lan's famous cabbage salad…a holiday would not be a holiday without it!

Sister Theresa Lan’s famous cabbage salad…a holiday would not be a holiday without it!

Another look at those mashed potatoes

Another look at those mashed potatoes

Me and my flowers from my cousin Dan and his wife, Rhonda (Indiana)

Me and my flowers from my cousin Dan and his wife, Rhonda (Indiana)

Sister Charlene Herinckx and her famous 7 layer salad!

Sister Charlene Herinckx and her famous 7 layer salad!

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Sr. Francesca Cuna made the mashed potatoes!

Sr. Francesca Cuna made the mashed potatoes!

Sister Theresa Lan and her famous dishes from Vietnam!

Sister Theresa Lan and her famous dishes from Vietnam!

Whats for lunch?

Whats for lunch?

flowers sent to Sr. Krista from her cousin in Indiana! How about that?

flowers sent to Sr. Krista from her cousin in Indiana! How about that?

Is it our turn yet?

Is it our turn yet?

Me and my Turkey! (With a lot of help from Bob and Roger)

Me and my Turkey! (With a lot of help from Bob and Roger)

Sister Adele Marie's stuffing (An old family recipe)

Sister Adele Marie’s stuffing (An old family recipe)

Sister Adele Marie shows off her stuff(ing)

Sister Adele Marie shows off her stuff(ing)

Wow…who made those mashed potatoes?

Wow…who made those mashed potatoes?

Whats for lunch?

Whats for lunch?

Home made cranberry sauce

Home made cranberry sauce

Sister Josephine Pelster and Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen

Sister Josephine Pelster and Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen

How about that turkey treat?

How about that turkey treat?

Valley Catholic Kindergarden class provide decorations for the Sisters on holidays!!!

Valley Catholic Kindergarden class provide decorations for the Sisters on holidays!!!

Yams with marshmallows!

Yams with marshmallows!

Sisters preparing for Thanksgiving Feast

Sisters preparing for Thanksgiving Feast