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

Affordable Workforce Housing Proposed for Marylhurst Property

Affordable Workforce Housing Proposed for Marylhurst Property

Since meeting with important stakeholders last year about their hopes and dreams for the former Marylhurst University property, the Sisters of the Holy Names (SNJM) have begun to explore options for possible uses of the property that would serve SNJM values.

Over a period of several months in 2019, the Sisters held input sessions with members of their religious community, residents and administrators at Mary’s Woods, members of neighborhood associations, former Marylhurst University students and employees and other interested groups. Overwhelmingly, stakeholders who participated in the input sessions favored uses that would help ease the shortage of housing for those in need.

In March 2020, the Sisters approached the City of Lake Oswego about considering a rezoning request that would permit use of a portion of the property for affordable workforce housing. This would help support the local workforce and increase the supply of needed housing in Lake Oswego. It could also reduce traffic pressure on adjacent Highway 43 by providing housing options for some of the 400 employees of Mary’s Woods.

The Sisters intend to continue to preserve historic resources on the property, and to maintain the remainder of the 40-acre campus for nonprofit uses and open space.

The rezoning process will begin this summer and will include a community outreach process.

The Sisters are working with Mercy Housing Northwest, a regional arm of Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI) which is a leading national affordable housing nonprofit. Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) was founded nearly 30 years ago by five Catholic women religious communities, including the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. MHNW now provides affordable homes to over 5,600 people every day. A majority of MHNW housing is focused on providing homes and programs for families and children. MHNW is focused on community-integrated, environmentally sustainable design and supplements much of its housing with Resident Services including out of school time programming for children and efforts to support health and wellness. More information about Mercy Housing’s mission and history is available at

SNJM Educational Ministries Participate in Payroll Protection Plan Loans

SNJM Educational Ministries Participate in Payroll Protection Plan Loans

Students at the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany, NY with a quilt given to a local rescue mission in 2016.

In this time of COVID-19, the Sisters of the Holy Names Educational Ministries have continued to respond to the needs of the times. With innovation and thoughtfulness, the administrators, teachers, tutors and staffs of these wonderful schools and ministries are finding new ways to carry on the Sisters’ mission and charism as they serve the changing needs of their communities.

Taking advantage of strong existing online learning systems, SNJM schools and ministries have pivoted quickly to offer remote classes, online college and individual counseling, Zoom-based and YouTube prayer services, and even social events to keep classmates connected with one another. In some areas, administrators have reached out to other Catholic schools to share expertise and model how to best channel new learning methods for the benefit of their students.

These efforts have had a positive impact on thousands of families with students at the primary, secondary and university levels, as well as adults enrolled in community-based ministries established by the Sisters to serve people with few other sources of educational support.

At a time when tuition and other financial obligations have become a challenge for some families, several ministries have taken action to support their educational programs with the help of the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Congress established the program to support operational and payroll expenses from February through the end of June 2020. The program enables nonprofit organizations to receive loans through local banks. These loans cover around 2.5 times the expense of monthly payroll, rent and utility costs. If nonprofits such as the SNJM ministries use the funds as directed, the loans become grants that the institutions do not have to pay back.

As of May 4, 2020, the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany, NY; Holy Names Academy in Seattle, WA; Holy Names High School, Holy Names University and Next Step Learning Center in Oakland, CA; Holy Names Music Center in Spokane, WA; Ramona Convent Secondary School in Alhambra, CA; and St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, OR have all been approved by their banks for PPP loans.

The loans enable the ministries to keep employees on staff through the end of June. Funds are helping to pay essential salaries as the ministries transition to serving students remotely.

The ministries have sought additional ways to support their communities as well. The spring season often includes galas and other fundraisers. In many cases, advancement offices have been inventive about moving to online auctions and various means. Other ministries have had grants and funding reduced or cancelled due to cutbacks. Fundraising work has generated additional support for families who have been impacted by furloughs and layoffs, and provided resources for students who otherwise have no access to meet with their online tutors and teachers. In addition to preserving a strong academic experience for students, the ministries have worked to provide financial assistance to the families hard-hit during the coronavirus.

Holy Names University in Oakland, CA has been able to strengthen its support for students facing financial hardship with a separate grant devoted to meet emergency needs of students such as rent and food. This grant, which cannot be used for tuition relief or employee salaries, is part of a different federal program developed to provide stimulus support for universities.