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.
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
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.
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
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)
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 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.
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:”
“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
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.
While we understand that Congress has several other tasks to attend to this session, because the window of opportunity is limited to six months, we urge Congress to take steps immediately to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017. The Dreamers are integral to our society as members of our families, our neighbors, our students and friends. How can we stand by and watch them be expelled, banished to countries foreign to them? They are talented teachers in our schools, competent and compassionate caregivers in our retirement communities, our colleagues and employees. It is impossible to imagine our schools, local hotels, restaurants and businesses, our healthcare systems, armed services and first responders in emergencies without their leadership and skilled commitment.
Will we simply turn our heads in the face of another blatant decision supporting racism?
We strongly encourage all people committed to justice and respect for and love of neighbor to contact your congresspersons to urge them to ensure that the Dream Act of 2017 becomes law, write letters to editors and also join with others in prayer services and in local demonstrations in support of the 800,000 Dreamers and the Dream Act of 2017.
The Sisters of the Holy Names of the U.S.-Ontario Province stand with the caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers from Central America coming to our U.S. border. We are appalled by President Trump’s inflammatory remarks concerning these families forced from their homes by extraordinary violence from gangs, insecurity and corruption in their countries. Families cannot live in this total fear without the hope of safety or sufficient income or a peaceful life.
We ask the U.S. Congress to challenge the president to uphold the values our country has practiced for generations of welcoming immigrants and sheltering asylum seekers. It is a human right to seek asylum. The president’s comments about these immigrants are disrespectful and often not true, i.e., saying these refugees include terrorists from the Middle East and that they are invading our country.
Now the administration is sending 5,200 troops to our southern border to stop this caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers. One retired military officer has declared that the military is deployed for war, not for assisting in apprehending immigrants. Why is the U.S. Congress letting the president basically declare war on families seeking to enter the U.S. to save their lives and to live in peace?
We urge the administration to withdraw all military troops from our border and to manage refugee arrivals humanely and in a manner that respects their dignity and rights under U.S. and international law. Specifically we ask:
- Allow immigrants approaching our border to ask for protection in the U.S. and to be processed in a timely manner.
- Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution to their claim.
- Guarantee that parents and children stay together while they seek asylum.
We must remember that the great majority of U.S. citizens’ ancestors have been immigrants. We want these current immigrants to have the same opportunity that our ancestors had.
For those of us who are Christians, we are reminded that Jesus clearly said we are to “welcome the stranger.” In today’s world, the strangers among us certainly include immigrants and refugees.
We urge all people of good will to contact your U.S. Congressional leaders to use their influence to stop our president’s current fear mongering and instead to allow immigrants and asylum seekers to cross the border and be humanely treated according to the laws of our country.
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team
Mary Breiling, SNJM
Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM
Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM