Magdalen Basick, SNJM
Celebrates her 85th Jubilee
In October 2020, Sister Magdalen Basick (Sister Ruth Ann Mary), Marylhurst, Oregon, will celebrate 85 years as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a more than rare occurrence in the history of the Sisters.
Born in 1916, 104 years ago, Magdalen grew up in Helvetia, Oregon, the child of Croatian immigrants. The family lived on a small farm in a home without electricity or running water, and attended a two-room school not far from their home.
Following a logging accident that tragically killed their father, Magdalen’s courageous mother saw that her children received the best education possible. Katherine, who later became Sister Mary Doloreen, and Mary, who would be Sister Joseph Mary, preceded Magdalen as boarders at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland and into the Holy Names community.
Of her high school experience, Sister Magdalen recalls that it was very difficult to leave her family and home at age 13. “I cried every day until Thanksgiving,” she said of this time in her life. But she put herself into school life and activities, was a good student while at St. Mary’s and earned the position of Sodality Prefect, the highest student office one could attain except for that of president of the student body.
After entering Holy Names Novitiate, she received the religious name Sister Ruth Ann Mary and prepared for her profession of vows as a Holy Names Sister and for a future in teaching. She taught elementary school for many years, primarily in the upper grades. She served at SNJM schools in Seattle, Spokane, Medford, Coos Bay, St. Paul, Eugene and Salem, and was principal at Our Lady of the Lake School in Lake Oswego for six years.
Her final teaching assignment was at Holy Redeemer School in North Portland. However, Sister Magdalen did not end her connection with the parish when she retired from the classroom staying on as bookkeeper and office helper until into her 90s.
At that time she made the decision to move to Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst to be near her older sister, Sister Joseph Mary. Still at Mary’s Woods, Sister Magdalen spends her days in prayer, keeping up on community and world events, and taking part in daily activities as she can.