Pontieri, Sister Miriam Carmel

Pontieri, Sister Miriam Carmel

Sister Miriam Carmel Pontieri, SNJM

(Sister Eleanor Pontieri)

June 3, 1922 – October 1, 2020

Sister Miriam Carmel Pontieri, SNJM departed this life on October 1, 2020 in at South Hill Village in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Miriam celebrated 98 years of life and 75 years of religious profession.

 Funeral services rae pending in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sister Miriam Carmel Pontieri, SNJM

Eleanor Mary Pontieri

June 3, 1922 – October 1, 2020

Sister of the Holy Names Miriam Carmel Pontieri, died on October 1, 2020, at South Hill Village, Spokane, Washington.  Christened Eleanor Mary, she was born to Luigi L. Pontieri and Lucia Gallicano on June 3, 1922, in Spokane.  Eleanor’s family lived in St. Aloysius Parish, and it was in the parish church where she received the Sacraments of Initiation. She attended Logan Elementary and graduated from North Central High School.   Eleanor began her advanced academic life as a day student at Holy Names College, which was located in St. Aloysius Parish.   Eleanor entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names at Marylhurst, Oregon on July 25, 1943, received her holy habit and religious name on February 5, 1944, and pronounced her vows August 5, 1945. 

Sister Miriam’s life-long and special relationship as teacher, mentor, and spiritual director began with high school students at St. Mary’s Academy in Medford, OR.  Over the next twenty-five years, she taught at Sisters of the Holy Names’ academies and colleges in California, Oregon, and Washington.  In the early 1970’s, Sister Miriam began her ministry as a director of retreats and spiritual director, a ministry she actively continued until recently. Her natural gifts as teacher and mentor grew with the ministerial opportunities she was given as moderator for the Sodalities at the academies and colleges where she taught, and the impact of Vatican II’s encouragement of the study of Sacred Scripture.  Sister Miriam began her tenure at Immaculate Heart Retreat House as Director of Retreats.  Over the next years, she collaborated with Rev. Armand Nigro, SJ in directing retreats, especially for women religious; their work taking them as far as Australia.  She next served on staff of the Mater Dei Institute for women religious housed at Marian Hall on Boone Street. 

Sister Miriam moved to the Convent of the Holy Names on Ft. Wright Drive from Marian Hall in 2005; her move to South Hill Village was in 2014 when the Convent of the Holy Names on Ft. George Wright Drive was sold.  On September 12, 2020, Sister Miriam celebrated her 75th Jubilee with a virtual Mass officiated by Bishop Emeritus William Skylstad.

Sister Miriam is predeceased by her parents, Luigi and Lucia Pontieri and her brothers, Lucian Pontieri and Louis Pontieri, and sisters Florence Pontieri and Carmel Pontieri Johnstone. She is survived by her grand-niece Laurel Henderson, other nieces and nephews and their extended families, the spiritual directees with whom she continued to journey, and her religious community, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and Affiliates.  Funeral services are pending in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst OR 97036.

Grijalva, Sister Mary Leo

Grijalva, Sister Mary Leo

Sister Mary Leo Grijalva, SNJM

(Sister Eleanor Grijalva)

February 8, 1932 – August 28, 2020

Sister Mary Leo Grijalva, SNJM departed this life on August 28, 2020 in at Saratoga Retirement Community in Saratoga, California.

Sister Leo celebrated 88 years of life and 67 years of religious profession.

 A virtual memorial will be held on Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in her memory at a future date.

Nessi, Sister Catherine

Nessi, Sister Catherine

Sister Catherine Nessi, SNJM

(Sister Francis Venard)

September 20, 1930 – August 18, 2020

Sister Catherine Nessi, SNJM departed this life on August 18, 2020 in at the Villas of Saratoga in Saratoga, California.

Sister Catherine celebrated 89 years of life and 70 years of religious profession.

Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in her memory at a future date.

Sister Catherine Nessi, SNJM

Sister Francis Venard

September 20, 1930 – August 18, 2020

Sister Catherine Nessi, SNJM (Sister Frances Venard) passed away in the early morning of August 18, 2020. Sister Catherine was 89 years old and celebrated 70 years of her religious profession as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. 

Sister Catherine was an elementary school educator and for over 57 years she ministered in schools both in Northern and Southern California.  She taught at Saint Monica (San Francisco), Saint Anastasia (Los Angeles), Saint Elizabeth (Altadena), Saint Monica (Santa Monica), Saint Ignatius (Sacramento), Saint Theresa (Oakland), Sacred Heart (Oakland), and Holy Spirit (Fremont). She taught at Saint Stephen (Monterey Park) three times for a total of 14 years and Saint Cecilia (San Francisco) for 18 years ministering there as teacher, plant manager and substitute teacher. During her years in elementary schools she coached many sport teams and also was known to give trumpet lessons to music students.

Additionally, she ministered at Convent of the Holy Names, Los Gatos, as plant manager for 3 years and Activities Director at Saint Mary’s Garden in Oakland for 3 years.

She loved her Swiss-Italian heritage and her family. She had a spirit of unassuming service and generosity. Sister Catherine’s quick and dry wit, her keen perception of people in an understated way, her acceptance of every person and her ability to speak directly in a disarming manner endeared her to many. Her mischievous smile and twinkle in her eye hinted at her fun-loving side. She loved sports and enjoyed watching, playing and coaching them.

 She is survived by her nieces, Rita Gordon, Theresa Woerman, Tina Figueroa and her nephews, George Nessi, Jim Nessi and their families. She will be remembered fondly by many friends, colleagues, former students and the Sisters of the Holy Names and their Affiliates.

A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in Sister Catherine’s memory at a future date.

Gifts in her memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or on-line at www.snjmca.org.

Sisters of the Holy Names Welcome Christian Cahill to Novitiate

Sisters of the Holy Names Welcome Christian Cahill to Novitiate

Christian Cahill received her SNJM pin and Constitutions on Saturday, August 8, 2020. 

Christian Cahill stepped forward wearing a black facemask and bowed her head as the congregational emblem of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary on a slender chain was slipped around her neck. Holding her new copy of the congregation’s Constitutions, she looked into a video camera that transmitted her broad smile to her family, friends and Sisters in three countries.

It was the Sisters’ first novice reception via Zoom, and behold, it was good.

In a powerful affirmation of God’s ongoing call to religious life, the welcome ceremony for Sister Christian on Aug. 8 combined the traditional sounds and sights of a religious ritual with the videoconferencing technology that has become an everyday part of shelter-in-place life during the coronavirus pandemic. Far from an experience of isolation, though, it was filled with music, encouraging words and joyful support for the next step in Sister Christian’s deepening exploration of the spirituality, ministries, history and evolving future of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

“When the date was originally set, we were expecting to have a full chapel and others on Zoom,” explained Sister Maureen Delaney, U.S.-Ontario Provincial. “But as, we know, things have greatly changed. As we also know, it is our custom to take what is given to us and make it work the best we can. You know the saying – ‘When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade!’”

With Sister Christian in the Holy Spirit Chapel in Campbell, CA were Sister Maureen and several other members of the community, including novice director Sister Elizabeth Liebert and Sister Marcia Frideger, who delivered a reflection that highlighted Sister Christian’s passion for social justice and willingness to follow God’s call. “At a time when fewer are seeking religious life as an option, Christian has traced the SNJM journey and already contributed her many gifts in ministry with the wider Church, society and SNJM community,” Sister Marcia said.

Sister Christian’s sister Michelle, via Zoom, participated by reading the beloved passage from the Gospel of Luke that recalls the Virgin Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who hails her as the Mother of God. Mary’s gratitude for God’s favor shines through the “Magnificat” text: “Surely, for now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

In thanking the Sisters for their warm welcome, Sister Christian described how their deep spirituality interwoven with music and art initially drew her to the congregation. “Then I got to know the community more and really connected with the social justice focus and advocating particularly for women and marginalized communities,” she said. “I continue to be impressed with the individual women, from the very beginning until now, who have courageously and boldly stepped out and tried new things.”

Sisters Welcome Christian Cahill to Novitiate

Sisters Welcome Christian Cahill to Novitiate

Christian Cahill leads a prayer service at the Catholic high school where she works in campus ministry.

On Saturday, Aug. 8, the Sisters of the Holy Names will joyfully welcome Christian Cahill as she begins her Canonical Novitiate.

Sisters, Affiliates and family members will rejoice with her via Zoom during her service of welcome with a small group at the Holy Spirit Chapel in Campbell, CA. At the simple ceremony, Christian will receive her congregational pin and a copy of the Constitutions of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

Christian has been a candidate for vowed membership in the SNJM community since September 2018. Her novitiate will be a time of getting to know the Holy Names Sisters better and exploring many aspects of religious life and how the Sisters live out their mission.

To learn more about the SNJM formation process, please click here.

McGee, Sister Mary Ann

McGee, Sister Mary Ann

Sister Mary Ann McGee, SNJM

(Sister Michele Marie)

February 11, 1931 – July 27, 2020

Sister Mary Ann McGee, SNJM departed this life on July 27, 2020 in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Mary Ann celebrated 89 years of life and 68 years of religious profession.

Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in her memory in the presence of her ashes at a future date.

Sister Mary Ann McGee, SNJM

Sister Michele Marie

February 11, 1931 – July 27, 2020

Sister of the Holy Names Mary Ann McGee [Sister Michele Marie] died peacefully in the early morning hours of July 27, 2020, at Brookdale Nine Mile, in Spokane, Washington.  Mary Ann was the second child and only daughter born to Oswald James McGee and Mae Dixon on February 11, 1931, in Spokane.  Mary Ann’s early life centered around and in St. Aloysius Parish where she was baptized, received her First Communion, and was confirmed.  It was at the schools staffed by Sisters of the Holy Names that she received her elementary and high school education before entering their novitiate on July 25, 1949, at Marylhurst, OR.  Sister Mary Ann pronounced Perpetual Vows on August 5, 1956. 

Sister Mary Ann’s lifetime ministry was one of an educator.  She began teaching in primary grades in schools staffed by Sisters of the Holy Names.  In the mid-1970’s, Sister Mary Ann transitioned to adult religious education and parish ministry. St. Joseph’s Parish in Yakima held fond memories of her years of active ministry in the Yakima Valley.  In her final years, Sister Mary Ann found ministry in visiting and sharing Eucharist with those homebound or in assisted living facilities, and serving as sacristan for the Catholic community at South Hill Village, Spokane.

Sister Mary Ann is preceded in death by her parents Oswald James McGee and Mae Dixon, and her brother William James McGee.  She is survived by nephews Daniel [Anna] McGee of Spokane and Michael [Mary] McGee of Boise, nieces Colleen McGee of Elk and Bridget McGee Cossano of Seattle, and their families.  Sister Mary Ann enjoyed her visits with McGee cousins in Washington State and Montana.   Sister Mary Ann is survived by her religious community, Sisters and Affiliates of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and the many friends with whom she shared faith, prayer, and life.

A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in her honor, in the presence of her ashes, at a future date.  Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, 5915 S Regal St #308, Spokane, WA 99223.

Griffin, Sister Jean Elizabeth

Griffin, Sister Jean Elizabeth

Sister Jean Elizabeth Griffin, SNJM

(Margaret Ann Griffin)

October 19, 1922 – July 12, 2020

Sister Jean Elizabeth Griffin, SNJM departed this life on July 12, 2020 in Saratoga, California.

Sister Jean Elizabeth celebrated 97 years of life and 75 years of religious profession.

A virtual memorial will be held on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in her memory at a future date.

Sisters Look Toward First Virtual Chapter with Hope

Sisters Look Toward First Virtual Chapter with Hope

Some of the Sisters who gathered for the 2018 Chapter in Portland, OR.

Religious life, just like any other way of living, has its cycle of predictable events. Whether it’s a regular gathering for Mass, an annual feast day celebration, or a once-in-a-lifetime Jubilee milestone, Sisters follow the beloved traditions they’ve always known. Until this year.

At the beginning of 2020, the Sisters of the Holy Names were filled with happy anticipation of holding a Chapter, their largest gathering, with the important purpose of selecting a new leadership team for the next five years. Chapter brings together Sisters from every corner of our sprawling Province – from Lima, Peru to Windsor, Canada – to see each other in person for joyful hugs, catch-up visits, worship and a week of deep conversations and prayer about the direction of the community.

Suddenly, as COVID-19 drastically rewrote the rules for traveling and gathering, the SNJM community faced the realization that Chapter could not go on as planned this summer. But go on it will, thanks to the tireless work, mutual support and ingenuity the Sisters always bring to a challenge.

Without forgetting their existing ministry commitments to people on the margins of society, the Sisters started charting a new course toward Chapter. Instead of gathering in small groups to share insights about their pre-Chapter readings, Sisters of all ages learned how to click on a videoconference link and talk to each other on a computer or iPad screen. Chapter leaders recognized one advantage that technology offers – Sisters could meet with Sisters from different regions, rather than with their accustomed conversation partners.

Providentially, a group of technology-savvy Sisters who are committed to expanding the use of digital communication tools had already equipped and started training many Sisters to use Apple iPad devices for staying in touch with each other. As a result, an increasing number of committee meetings, surveys and information-sharing initiatives have taken place with the use of iPad apps. Now, the iPad is part of the Chapter preparation process in which Sisters invite one another to consider taking on the responsibility of leadership for the next five-year term.

When the 2020 Chapter begins on July 9 with the theme “Hope Rising,” it will be the first to happen virtually. Instead of sharing a huge meeting hall, Sisters will stay home and log into a secure video stream to hear from their leaders and each other. Using the technology skills they have worked to develop for more than a year, they will do what they’ve always done – find a way to live religious life in the present age. There are no traditions to follow, except the one established by SNJM foundress Blessed Marie Rose Durocher: “As we tread the same path, let us extend a hand to one another to surmount the difficulties that present themselves.”

A Call to Respect Human Life and Reject Racism

A Call to Respect Human Life and Reject Racism

We can hardly find words to express our horror at witnessing George Floyd beg for air as a Minneapolis policeman restrained him by kneeling on his neck until he died. 

As Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary of the U.S.-Ontario Province, we join with those who condemn this outrageous act against a restrained and helpless black man.

We stand with those who advocate for the dignity and respect of every human life. We strongly reject the racism and hatred reflected in this action.

While we support peaceful protests against rampant racism, we condemn the destruction of property and the harming of persons involved. We call on our president and all leaders to exert moral influence by promoting peaceful means to deter the violence happening in so many cities.

We grieve with and for the families, friends and black communities that have endured so many traumatic killings and for whom George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor’s deaths are yet another harsh reminder of repeated injustice. We pray for urgently needed reforms in our society and our hearts, so that we may learn to live Jesus’ message to “love one another.”

 

Mary Breiling, SNJM

Maureen Delaney, SNJM

Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM

Margaret Kennedy, SNJM

Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM

U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary