News

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

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 www.mercyhousing.org.

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.

The Path Towards Community

Sister Miriam Mark Eddy, Julia Sauter and Sister Daleen Larkin.

At a time when the future of religious life has become increasingly uncertain, stories of young discerners like Julia Sauter stand out.

As a woman in her 20s, busy with graduate school at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, Julia was struck by the warm relationships her roommate was developing by spending time with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. There were shared meals. Phone calls. Supportive conversations.

The idea of that kind of belonging was very appealing. Julia became immersed in Berkeley’s vibrant local Catholic environment. When graduation came, she moved back to her hometown of Palm Springs, California. Missing her faith community, she began to visit St. Anthony’s, a culturally diverse Catholic church about two hours west in San Gabriel, California. That’s when the Holy Names Sisters came into her own life, and she was drawn into relationship with them thanks to the immense hospitality she experienced.

While her college roommate chose to become a candidate for vowed religious life, Julia sought another form of belonging – the Associate relationship, which gives her a way to interweave her life with that of the Holy Names Sisters while remaining a lay person. Encouraged by Sisters Miriam Mark (Minnie) Eddy, Daleen Larkin and others, Julia began her formation as an Associate. On Oct. 7, 2017, she made her initial Associate promises.

“I think I decided to become an Associate particularly because Sr. Minnie was very supportive during a very challenging period in my life,” says Julia. “She definitely exemplified the commitment to hospitality that the SNJMs have. There is a lot of enthusiasm and genuine support that I think is unique.” 

But after a few years as an active Associate, Julia faced another difficult transition when she accepted a position in the Development office for the Glenmary Home Missioners in Cincinnati, OH. Despite the thousands of miles that now lie between them, she and the Holy Names Sisters have found ways to keep their ties strong.

“When I moved, the Sisters in Southern California wanted to know how to remain connected and available to support me,” she says. The solution was to become one of the first Associates to attend meetings virtually. Every month, Julia connects with her fellow Associates and Sisters back in Southern California via video chat, participating in the gatherings and continuing her relationship to the community as if she had never left. Phone calls, emails and cards also help bridge the distance. “You feel like you’re there, even though you’re not physically in the same space.”

Now 31, Julia values the ability to maintain relationships with women whose charism, mission and vision she hopes to carry into the future. “There is something special about the Associate experience and the SNJMs. We’re not loosely connected but a vital part of their ongoing life and future.”

Being connected to the Sisters has given her insight into the future of religious life and informed her ministry interests. Julia is especially involved in promoting religious vocations and supporting people with disabilities, as she herself is a religious discerner living with mild cerebral palsy. When she’s not working, Julia moderates several online discernment groups to promote dialogue around religious life, and she advocates for people with disabilities and mental health conditions through conversation, writing and social media.

Julia sees the beauty in what lies ahead for men and women religious and believes that with more creativity, transparency and flexibility, religious life will continue in a new, invigorated form. “It’s going to look different,” she says. “It’s not going to be what it was in years past, but I think there is definite potential here. There are a lot of young people who are serving and searching for community, but they don’t know where to find it. I find that with other discerners that I correspond with, we have a lot of ideas and enthusiasm for the Catholic faith and vocations, but we want to find ways to share our experiences and ideas.”

Living with a disability influences her viewpoint. It’s not uncommon for people who have medical challenges to be told – and even start to believe – that they would be a burden to a religious community and to find themselves dismissed in the discernment process.

“It’s unfortunate,” she says, “because many times we could be successful… We are enthusiastic about the future of religious life.”

For that reason, Julia has a special place in her heart for the foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names, Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, who was passionate about welcoming the vulnerable and creating paths for people on the margins to be involved in religious life. As a young woman discerning her vocation, Marie Rose was rejected by several religious orders due to her health struggles. But with great faith, passion and spiritual fire, she started her own congregation, which carries on her passion for the poor, marginalized and disenfranchised.

 “Some people forget they were vulnerable; they get their spot and then they forget to hold open the door for others,” Julia reflects. “But Mother Marie Rose didn’t forget her experience, and I see the Sisters today continuing to follow the example of that story.”

The future of religious life may remain uncertain – but Julia believes that with open doors and an open mind, exciting possibilities lie ahead.   

By Heather Rockwell, Communications and Events Coordinator

Faith Statement on Escalating Violence with Iran

As people of faith, we condemn the United States’ dangerous aggression towards Iran, including the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the deployment of additional troops to the region. We urge the Administration to step back from the brink of war.

Our faith communities see the futility of war, and its power to dehumanize. We know that human flourishing entails breaking cycles of violence, being courageous peacemakers, and focusing on the root causes of conflict. Violent conflict is a path of mutual destruction.

 Instead, all actors must move forward in a way that upholds our shared, sacred human dignity:

  • All parties must begin by re-humanizing each other without excusing unjust and violent actions.
  • The U.S. Administration must halt violent attacks and military escalations. It must return to a diplomatic process, recognizing that lasting peace requires a commitment to the shared well-being of every human, from Iran to the United States and everywhere in between. 
  • The U.S. Congress must act to reassert its war powers by refusing authorization for war with Iran and related attacks, and to block funding for war with Iran. 
  • U.S. actions and strategy in the region must address the root causes of the conflict, such as distrust, trauma, economic resources, and political influence. 
  • All of us must support nonviolent creative actions of resistance to any unjust and violent actions.

As communities of faith, we renounce the escalation of violence and call on the United States to work towards lasting peace with Iran.

Signed,

American Friends Service Committee

Center on Conscience and War

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Church of the Brethren office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Churches for Middle East Peace

Coalition for Peace Action

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Conference of Superiors of Men (Catholic)

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Faith in Public Life

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Campaign for a Peace Tax fund

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas-Institute Leadership Team

Unitarian Universalist Association

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society

New Year’s Resolutions from the Sisters

Set them, forget them or regret them: At one time or another, we’ve all made New Year’s resolutions. As we say farewell to 2019, we asked the Sisters, Associates and Lay Consecrated women in the SNJM community to share their intentions – some light-hearted, some serious – for the year to come.

I will strive to live the PRESENT MOMENT with gratitude and joy!
Sister Molly Neville (California)

My resolutions are to reduce my paper use by 25% and add 25% more prayer to my day.
Sister Margaret Kennedy (Oregon)

This year I will try to be as perfect as Sister Cathy Leamy. This is my resolution.
Sister Gloria Drouillard (Ontario)

My New Year’s resolution is to spend 20 minutes to a half an hour at least 4 times per week practicing on my piano!
Sarah Lucier (Associate and Lay Consecrated, Ontario)

During 2020, I resolve to conserve electricity by removing energy-sucking cords from outlets when appliances are not in use.
Sister Joan Maiers (Oregon)

Ann Regan’s resolution is that screen time notification of games and social networking on the community-issued iPad will be less than “other” because other includes my morning meditation emails!!!
Sister Ann Regan (Florida)

A daily act of human kindness, in person, by text, by email or by phone call – one a day in 2020.
Marilyn Mackinnon (Associate, California)

Practice self-love. Notice beauty, self, others, creation. Expect uncertainty. Read 30 minutes a day. Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t miss the good things that are happening.
Sister Janet Walton (New York)

I resolve to put energy in my step! And have a welcoming way.
Sister Lydia Nikolaisen (Washington)

A tad more time for prayer and reading and little less time for eating! Sprinkled into the mix, time for some walking.
Shannon Lenet (Associate, New York)

My New Year’s resolution is to pick up where I left off in my line dancing class – still very klutzy but it’s good exercise and fun!
Sister Judy Ryan (Washington)

Keep in mind: Always be kind.
Sister Mary Annette Dworshak (Washington)

To find peace in present moments rather than entering into worry about future moments.
Therese Fenzl (Associate and Lay Consecrated, California)

My 2020 resolution: No more procrastinating!
Patricia Boroughs (Associate, California)

I often joke that New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other. For 2020, I plan on sharpening my listening skills, and to try to be a better listener. No more “in one ear and out the other!”
Rita Jacques (Associate, Ontario)

My resolution is more long walks and a little less sitting around watching Judge Judy.
Sandy Vroman (Lay Consecrated, Oregon)

My goal is to exercise every day and to be grateful for each moment.
Sister Lucinda Peightal (Oregon)

In the spirit and practice of living sustainably, I will wash and reuse re-sealable bags!
Sister Jo’Ann De Quattro (California)

I resolve to pray for the President … sincerely.
Judy Killion (Associate, Washington)

My resolution is to respond to personal e-mails promptly. You’re the first! Happy New Year!!!
Sister Joan Dixon (Washington)

Hospitality Brings Hope at Rose Haven

Families are regular guests at Rose Haven in Portland, OR, which offers a clothes closet, a food pantry and a noontime meal Mondays through Fridays. Guests have access to private showers and programs for children, including an annual back-to-school fair that provides school supplies and a holiday gathering that distributes brand-new gifts to children.

Like many other U.S. cities, Portland, OR is facing a housing crisis. Amid the dark clouds of homelessness, there exists a light of hope and help. Rose Haven, started in 1997 by Good Shepherd Sister Cathie Boerboom, provides a day shelter and community center for women and children experiencing poverty, trauma, and mental and physical health challenges.

From nearly the beginning, Holy Names Sister Judy Bertoli was a weekly volunteer. She spent several hours most Tuesdays as a welcoming presence of hospitality among Rose Haven guests, listening to their stories with a willing ear, enjoying their company with a gracious smile, and being a spiritual companion with a loving heart. Traveling an hour each way by bus into Northwest Portland, she brought a one-of-kind healing energy to guests and staff alike.

As a regular volunteer, Sister Judy saw the impact of Rose Haven’s ID Replacement Program and secured a grant from the SNJM Ministry Fund to support it. The women and children who frequent Rose Haven are among the most disenfranchised in the city. They experience isolation and invisibility on a daily basis. Lack of proper identification makes their problems worse.

Rose Haven guest Lynne knows first-hand how important the ID program is. Living outside, her possessions have been stolen, sometimes repeatedly. Without ID, she could not check into night shelter, utilize community clinic services or access the food bank. It is a challenge to replace identification, and the fees are more than a person experiencing poverty can afford.

Rose Haven helps guests like Lynne replace lost or stolen ID. The reinstatement of her ID quite literally reaffirmed her existence and transformed her life.

Thanks to the Sisters of the Holy Names and the support of donors to the SNJM Ministry Fund, Rose Haven provided 194 IDs or vital records in 2018 for women and children experiencing homelessness or abuse.

Sister Judy’s impact is felt by the women who can take their rightful place in society thanks to the center and its ID replacement program.

 

Sister Judy Bertoli has been sowing the seeds of hospitality and welcome at Rose Haven from its early days.

Sister Linda Haydock to Speak on Human Trafficking

Sister Linda Haydock, congregational leader of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, will give a talk about recognizing, understanding and working to end human trafficking in a public presentation on Sept. 27.

Sister Linda’s presentation in Marylhurst, OR will address where and how human trafficking takes place, progress that has been made and practical suggestions for influencing business practices to help bring about change.

As a global congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Names have maintained opposition to trafficking in women and children as a corporate stand – one of their principal commitments – since 2004. In collaboration with other religious congregations and nongovernmental organizations, they have advocated for policies and programs that address the prevention of trafficking and worked to provide alternatives for women and children in danger of being trafficked. Holy Names Sisters have supported training hotel and hospitality workers to recognize the signs of human trafficking, participated in silent vigils and been involved in many other public witness activities.

Sister Linda became the first executive director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) when it was formed in 1991 with the Sisters of the Holy Names as one of its founding congregations. Working to stop modern-day slavery is among IPJC’s major activities. After nurturing IPJC’s growth as a community-building force for systemic change for 26 years, in 2017 she became leader of her religious congregation. She is the recipient of the 2016 Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen Humanitarian Award.

Her talk is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Sept. 27 in the Chapel of the Holy Names, located in Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, 17400 Holy Names Dr., Lake Oswego, OR. There is no cost to attend but space is limited. Please click here for details and to reserve seats by Sept. 19.

Public Statement on Gun Violence in Texas and Ohio

The violent attacks and loss of life in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH last weekend leave us shocked and saddened. We pray for the victims and their families and for all the people who are suffering because of these senseless and hateful acts.

We join our voices with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which once again has called for stronger measures to address gun violence. LCWR has spoken out against those who incite anger and fear, which too often results in mass killings. We too commit ourselves to action on behalf of all who are threatened by pervasive gun violence. One step has been to participate in shareholder resolutions that ask weapons manufacturers to identify ways they could limit fatal shootings and avoid negative impacts on human rights.

We pray for those whose thoughts turn to acts of violence, that they will recognize the evil of that choice and their freedom to choose instead the way of peace and respect for the life of every human being.

We share the following “Prayer for Peace:”

Philippians 4:4-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Sometimes words are not enough
to express the language of our hearts,
sometimes minds are filled
with prayers without expression.

Sometimes there are not enough
spare moments in each day,
sometimes regret is all
we have as our confession.

Sometimes faith is not enough
but in the presence of your peace,
sometimes prayer can be
a quiet conversation.

Sometimes words are not enough
to express the anguish on our hearts,
sometimes prayers are answered
that remain unspoken.

 

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team
Mary Breiling, SNJM
Maureen Delaney, SNJM
Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM
Margaret Kennedy, SNJM
Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM

What It’s Like to Accompany Migrants at the U.S. Border

By Mary Becker, SNJM and Mary Ondreyco, SNJM

Two Holy Names Sisters are among the many volunteers who have been serving guests of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. They recently returned and shared their experiences in this report.

Annunciation House has been accompanying migrant, homeless and economically vulnerable peoples of the border since 1978. Recently with the influx of people from Latin America, Annunciation House has set up nine centers to continue this outreach and support. The people of El Paso have responded generously by providing daily meals, laundry service, transportation to bus stations or airport, translation services and clothes and food donations. Through the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Annunciation House asked for religious Sisters and people affiliated with their communities to volunteer and help at the various centers. Many responded to this request. The Sisters of Loretto have provided housing for volunteers at their El Convento residence.

Ruben Garcia, the executive director of Annunciation House, has a working relationship with ICE. When the immigrants and asylum seekers are released daily from the Sub-Stations or Detention Centers, Ruben is notified and ICE buses then bring people to the Centers. The majority of people who arrive at our Center, Nazareth House, are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. They come with the clothes on their backs, worn shoes, hungry, thirsty, often carrying a baby or with young children prone to illness. Through all this they arrive with inner strength, hope, a desire to live in peace and to work and support their families.

All the guests had documents received from ICE that are their current ID. With these documents they can travel legally and are given a hearing date – usually within two weeks – where they need to appear in a federal court as part of the asylum process. At that hearing, depending on the judge, they could be allowed to continue the asylum process or they might be deported. 

We realize that the immigration issue in the U.S. is a very complex issue and we continue to read and discuss articles that help us to better understand this reality. Several articles we recommend are: “Moving ‘Beyond the Wall’: Immigration panel talks moral, practical solutions” (National Catholic Reporter, Feb.5, 2019) and these links to two articles: “The Ethics of Trump’s Border Wall” by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin (New York Times, Jan. 30, 2019) and “Trump Does His Divisive El Paso Number” by Roger Cohen (New York Times, Feb. 8, 2019).

The receiving centers have 24-hour coverage by a site coordinator (7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) and by volunteers during the day and through the night. We worked the 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. shift each day and each of us took one night shift from 10:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m.   

During the day shift many things happened:

  • ICE officials brought those released from the processing centers to Nazareth House. Most days, two busloads of people arrived and the center accommodated up to 50 new arrivals along with the 40 or 50 others waiting for their departures to sponsors in various states.
  • Spanish-speaking volunteers helped with the intake procedure as well as welcoming the guests who weren’t quite sure where they were and who was helping them in this next step of the process. Water, snacks or a meal were provided and each new arrival was helped to select a change of gently used, clean clothing. Towels, toiletries, sheets, pillows and blankets were provided, and all enjoyed a hot refreshing shower.
  • Most meals were provided by El Paso volunteers but on several occasions we, the day volunteers, cooked and prepared the lunch or dinner for around 100 people. We always asked some of our guests to help us with the meal preparation, the serving of the meal and then the clean-up of the many pots and pans. The guests loved working with us in these activities.
  • Volunteers also aided in the general maintenance of the center – folding clean sheets, checking rooms, preparing snack bags for all traveling by bus or plane to their new locales and helping with medical needs or emergencies. (Nursing experience would have been helpful here!)

Before the volunteer time with Annunciation House, Mary O. participated in Capacitar workshops (holistic wellness practices) with people in Juarez and El Paso. Capacitar leaders have been working at the border for more than 10 years, and around 95 people participated in these workshops. The SNJM Ministry Fund provided funding for these workshops and for the planning of future workshops in border areas in El Paso and central and southern California.

On returning home and reflecting on our experiences, we are very grateful to the Holy Names community for your support, prayer and encouragement. We carried some of your donations with us and these enabled us to buy fresh salad, fruit and meat for the meals that we prepared for our guests. But most of all, we are grateful for the memories of the children and families, our guests, who left behind the violence and poverty of their home countries (as our own ancestors did) to start a new life here in the U.S., bringing with them much hope, spirit, determination and initiative.

Both Marys helping with serving dinner.

Guests in prayer.

Mary O. organizes clothing for guests’ travel.

Mary O. and guests clean up the kitchen.

Mary B and Sr. Alicia, SL, locate a guest’s family.

Cathy Olds, OP and Mary O. prepare intake packets.

Volunteers, Mary O. and Mary B. prepare dinner.