Four Sisters Prepare for Next ‘Adventure’ of Leading SNJM Congregation

December 29, 2016

(L-R): Sisters Kathleen Ross, Linda Haydock, Mary Ellen Holohan and Lorna Cooney.

As 2016 draws to an end, four Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) prepare to begin a leadership term that may bring some of the most significant changes in the history of the 173-year-old religious community. Last July, representatives from all SNJM provinces and sectors gathered in Cornwall, Ontario just outside Quebec Province for the community’s 34th General Chapter. The Chapter is a special convocation the Sisters hold every five years to prayerfully choose new leaders and make major decisions about their future direction and organizational structure. As part of that process, the new Congregational Leadership Team was named. Sister Linda Haydock of Seattle, WA will serve as Congregational Leader, in partnership with three councilors: Sister Lorna Cooney of Dorval, Quebec, Sister Mary Ellen Holohan of Portland, OR and Sister Kathleen Ross of Yakima, WA. They will take office on Jan. 1, 2017 and serve through the end of 2021. The General Chapter theme, “An Adventure with the Spirit,” seems likely to remain at the center of the Sisters’ ongoing challenge to themselves to listen for God’s voice and live out their mission in their own time. As Gospel women committed to the full development of the human person, they seek to continually renew their engagement with the needs of the world as well as to make wise choices about their own health care and living arrangements as they age. Sister Linda is a well-respected social justice advocate. As the founding executive director of the Seattle-based Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, she has ministered on behalf of people on the margins of society. IPJC is a partnership of religious communities that challenges corporations to change unjust practices, advocates for sustainable water resources, seeks to end human trafficking, facilitates empowering action by low-income women through Women’s Justice Circles and fosters opportunities for young adults to gather for justice, spirituality and community building. Sister Linda has nurtured IPJC’s growth as a community-building force for systemic change for economic, racial and environmental justice. She is the recipient of the 2016 Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen Humanitarian Award. Sister Lorna has worked for many years to promote understanding of the SNJM charism, which is God’s unique gift to the Sisters of the Holy Names to share with the world. She is bilingual and bi-cultural as a native of French-speaking Montreal, Quebec. In addition to serving three prior terms in SNJM Congregational leadership, Sister Lorna heads the Charism Office and is the creator of “Pilgrimage of the Heart,” a retreat experience based on the life of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher and the sacred sites of the religious community she founded. Sister Mary Ellen is returning to Congregational leadership after ministering for 10 years on the U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team, including five years as Provincial leader. Previously, she served as a member of the Congregational Leadership Team and was chosen as its first presiding leader from the United States. Within the Province, her ministries have ranged from outreach to the elderly and sick in a low-income parish to resource and infrastructure management, always working to support the goals of the Congregation. As founding President of Heritage University, Sister Kathleen is nationally known as a leader in higher education, especially in the field of cross-cultural communication. As provost of Fort Wright College in Spokane, WA in the 1970s, she built partnerships with the people of the Yakima Nation and initiated new opportunities for rural, minority and low-income students to gain four-year college degrees. Her work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the 1989 Harold McGraw Prize in education, the 1991 John Carroll Award from Georgetown University and the 1995 State of Washington Medal of Merit. In 1997, she was selected as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the “Genius Grant.”

LCWR Region 15 Meeting Focuses on Justice and Feeding the Hungry

October 28, 2016

The U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team attends the LCWR Region 15 meetings, which happen twice a year. Last week’s meeting in Yakima, WA featured canon lawyer Sharon Holland, IHM and Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) Executive Director Linda Haydock, SNJM (Seattle).

Sr. Linda provided a new process booklet for faith sharing called “Privilege and Periphery: Risking Transformation,” which is based on the resolution passed by the 2016 LCWR Assembly regarding systemic injustice. For copies of this reflection process booklet, contact IPJC at

In keeping with the organization’s justice priorities, LCWR members including Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM (pictured at far right) set aside time to make 200 sandwiches to give to homeless people in Yakima.

Motherhouse Road Trip with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

October 20, 2016
Two Sisters of the Holy Names will be interviewed online on Friday, Oct. 21 when A Nun’s Life Ministry brings its traveling podcast to Campbell, CA. You can join the hosts, Sisters Julie Vieira and Maxine Kollasch, for the live webcast and ask questions of the guest Sisters – Cynthia Canning, SNJM and Sally Gunn, SNJM. During the webcast, Martha Rolley, SNJM, will help take comments and questions from the online community in the chat room and bring them into the on-air conversation.Sister Cynthia Canning has ministered in education and SNJM leadership. She began as an elementary school teacher, juggling two grades in the same classroom. She later served as a high school teacher and principal. She was then called to SNJM leadership, serving six years each in the roles of Director of Ministry and Provincial. In 1994, Sister Cynthia along with SNJM Sisters Rosemary Delaney and Margaret Kennedy founded Next Step Learning Center. The community-based nonprofit continues to assist Oakland-area youth and adults who are seeking to earn their high school equivalency, transition to college, and build better lives.

Sister Sally Gunn has served in a variety of ministries. A much-loved junior high classroom teacher, she taught in southern California schools for over 20 years. She served for more than a decade at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Encino, where she worked with the Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process and other aspects of parish life. Sister Sally has served in provincial leadership and other roles within the SNJM congregation. She was a key member of the planning team that guided the merging of five provinces of SNJM into the present U.S.-Ontario Province.

A Nun’s Life Ministry was founded by Sisters Julie and Maxine in 2006. This online faith community and nonprofit ministry reaches out with a pastoral presence to thousands of people worldwide each day. The website at is a place where you can talk with Catholic sisters and nuns and lots of other people on topics such as spirituality, prayer, community, ministry, and more.


How to tune in 
New to podcasts and chat rooms? Find all the details here for how to tune in to the podcast and use the chatroom.

How to hear a recording of the podcast
An audio recording of the podcast will be available in the podcast player below a few days after the livestream. You can also have the podcast sent to you as soon as it’s posted by subscribing on iTunes (click on the “iTunes Subscribe” icon on any podcast page) or getting the A Nun’s Life app. Click here for full details about recorded podcasts.

Justice Network Members Walk for Peace

October 17, 2016
Members of the U.S.-Ontario Justice Network met the weekend of Oct. 7-9. Sister Linda Haydock conducted a workshop focusing on “We Call Ourselves to More” drawn from the Prologue to the Acts of the 34th General Chapter.
Mission Centre representatives who attended the meeting committed themselves to further education on human trafficking, water and the environment and the plight of immigrants and refugees. They also pledged to collaborate more purposefully to advocate for others and to promote concrete action as appropriate in their respective regions.
A Peace Walk for Justice took place Saturday afternoon. The procession of Justice Network members and guests visited the Peace Pole at Mary’s Woods, the Marylhurst Labyrinth, the Marylhurst University Peace Pole, the Our Lady of Marylhurst shrine and finally the Peace Pole at the U.S.-Ontario Province office. Sister Margaret Ball led the peace walk participants in a prayerful chant during the closing ritual.

Photo Gallery: Feast of Blessed Marie Rose Across the Province 2016

October 14, 2016
You’re invited to enjoy this photo gallery of celebrations for Feast of Blessed Marie Rose across the Province. 

Albany, NY Gathering

Eileen Kelleher, SNJM, Phyllis D’Antonio, Associate, Marilyn Marx, SNJM and friend of the community Mary Ann Conway wait to welcome Sisters, Associates and friends to the celebration in honor of Mother Marie Rose.


Albany, NY Prayer Service

Giovannina Saleeby, SNJM and Marilyn Marx, SNJM spend some reflection time during the prayer service. In the background are Eileen Fitzgerald, SNJM, Mary Elizabeth Lagoy, SNJM, friend of the community Mary Ann Conway and Joan Byrne, SNJM.


Marylhurst, OR Pie Social

The Sisters at Mary’s Woods in Marylhurst, OR celebrated the Feast of Blessed Marie Rose with a pie social. From left: Barbara Land, SNJM, Annette Covatta, SNJM and Mary Bertoli, SNJM. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Schroeder, SNJM.)


Mid-Atlantic Dinner Gathering

Sisters in the Mid-Atlantic Mission Centre were able to gather for supper to celebrate the Feast of Blessed Mother Marie Rose. From left: Frankie Barber, SNJM, Eileen Dunn, SNJM, Kathleen Keller, SNJM, Kathleen Griffin, SNJM, Mary Ann Dunn, SNJM, Virginia Dunn, SNJM. (Photo courtesy of Molia Sieh, SNJM.)


Seattle, WA Celebration at Holy Names Academy

Sisters and Associates joined the Holy Names Academy, Seattle community on Oct. 11 at St. Joseph’s Church to celebrate Mother Marie Rose. Students who volunteered in Jonestown, MS last summer shared highlights of their service that deepened their appreciation of education and their understanding of social justice issues.


Seattle, WA Celebration

In addition to the celebration, HNA hosted a lunch for the guests, student volunteers and faculty in the spirit of Mother Marie Rose’s hospitality. This event was arranged through the initiative of the HNA Charism Committee under the leadership of Julie Tilghman, campus minister.


Presentation on Mother Marie Rose in Salem, OR

Marilyn Schoeder, SNJM made a presentation about Mother Marie Rose and the SNJM charism to students at St. Joseph School in Salem, OR, where she is a teacher.


Windsor, Ontario Eucharist

Sisters and Associates gathered at the Devonshire residential center in Windsor, Ontario for a Eucharistic celebration led by Fr. Joe Quinn, CSB. Pat Parachini, SNJM (Mid-Atlantic), who was at Devonshire leading a retreat, was the homilist and spoke of Mother Marie Rose as a contemplative in action, a theme in keeping with the retreat.


Yakima, WA Mass

Sisters and Associates of the Yakima Valley Mission Centre celebrated the feast of Blessed Marie Rose with a special Mass in the backyard of the home of Associates Cecilia Chavez, her husband Daniel and their daughter Elizabeth. L-R: Elizabeth Ortega, Associate, Marina Rose Parisi, SNJM, Deacon Bernie Alvarado, Fr. Jorge Granados and Irma de Prieto, Associate.


Oakland, CA Song from East Bay Mission Centre

East Bay Sisters and Associates sand a song while gathered at Mercy Center in Oakland to celebrate the Feast of Mother Rose. Watch a video of the singing by clicking on the word “View” below.

Catholic Charities Purchases Former Convent in Spokane

September 27, 2016

Washington Sisters at a Jubilee celebration in the Spokane Convent of the Holy Names.

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province announced today that Catholic Charities purchased the Convent buildings and a portion of its 65 acre Spokane Campus on Fort George Wright Drive in Spokane, Washington. Catholic Charities plans to adaptively re-use the main Convent building for a new innovative social services program called “Rising Strong” in a unique collaboration with Empire Health Foundation. Empire Health Foundation provided $1.6 million to Catholic Charities to go toward the purchase as a program related investment in this exciting project that will aim to reduce the number of children being removed from their homes by Child Protective Services.

In addition, Catholic Charities, in partnership Spokane-based Inland Group, will use a portion of the property to develop affordable housing for both seniors and families, with great care taken to preserve the spiritual and ecological characteristics of the property. Catholic Charities also plans to retain the Chapel for prayer and occasional Mass and other Convent facilities, in support of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Spokane’s mission to reveal God’s love to the poor and vulnerable. The Sisters selected Catholic Charities in early 2016 after a two year property evaluation and a selection process that concluded at the end of 2015. The art studio and some of the Sisters’ Administrative Offices, including the Development Office, which focuses on fundraising and donor relations, will remain at the property under a rent-free lease with Catholic Charities.

The Sisters also propose to permanently protect and conserve nearly fifty percent of the property, including the entire Spokane River frontage and remaining 31 acres of land surrounded by the River, in collaboration with The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program and other public agencies. The Sisters’ property has been selected by The Conservation Futures Program as the highest priority property for purchase by the program and currently is being evaluated for acquisition by the agency.

“We selected Catholic Charities because their service to Spokane residents and their commitment to stewardship of the property are consistent with our history and mission in this community and our values and goals for the future of the property,” said Sister Kathleen Hilton, who is leading the property transition. “We have served Spokane for more than a century and we appreciate the community’s support of our efforts as we transition the property. Proceeds from the sale will help fund long term housing and care for our aging sisters and also enable us to continue our ministry of education, and providing social services, and financial assistance to organizations who serve the poor, especially marginalized women and children.”

“We’re very thankful to Empire Health Foundation for enabling us to purchase the Sisters’ property.” said Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane. “In our opinion, this property is indeed a sacred space and we take very seriously our obligation to care for it and use it in a way that continues the incredible history of the Sisters reaching out to those in need. We look forward to our continued partnership and service to the fragile and the poor in Spokane as we move forward with our plans for social services and senior and family housing on this great site.”

The Sisters’ Spokane Campus, located at 2911 W Fort George Wright Dr., includes approximately 65 acres, two buildings totaling 77,000 square feet of space with residential living units, administrative offices, a chapel, common dining and recreation areas, an art studio, gathering spaces and retreat facilities. Although the Sisters have used the property for housing and care of Sisters since 1967, the entire property has long been zoned and planned for high density housing by the City of Spokane. Preliminary approvals for development of the property were recently granted by the City of Spokane.

The sale price and terms were not disclosed. Craig Soehren and Mike Livingston, Kiemle & Hagood Company, are serving as the exclusive listing broker for the Sisters of the Holy Names for the property sale.

About the Sisters of the Holy Names Spokane Campus Long Range Planning Process: Given the age and configuration of the buildings, the demographic profile of the Sisters, and the many changes and advancements in health and eldercare delivery in society, the Sisters initiated a long range planning process for the property more than two years ago. Because the Sisters’ expertise and experience has been focused on their mission of education, the Sisters have looked to others with the needed professional expertise to manage the increasing long term housing and health care needs of its members. The Province transitioned Sisters from the Convent to Brookdale at South Regal (formerly Harbor Crest) and nearby apartments during 2013-14 for housing and a residence to meet the care needs of individual Sisters.

Supporting Teachers Who Use Technology

September 26, 2016

Students learn why heart health is important in a video featured on the Apple Teacher website.

Apple has unveiled a program to support teachers who want to use technology in authentic and innovative ways, and it’s been keeping Sister Martha Rolley busy for over a year.

Sister Martha is Director of Education Professional Learning Content at Apple. She and her team were responsible for creating resources for the newly launched Apple Teacher program. Its goal is to inspire, train and celebrate teachers as they develop more effective learning and teaching experiences using an iPad or Mac.

Educators who sign up for the program gain access to online resources and digital books to expand their knowledge about iPad devices and Mac computers, which schools frequently rely on to assist learning. After participants successfully complete a series of quizzes online, they can receive a downloadable Apple Teacher logo to recognize their achievement and expertise.

One teacher who signed up for the Apple Teacher program wrote in a blog post, “Educators are always learning. We chose this profession because we want to help students be successful. Overall, the program fosters our understanding of how best to use the iPad in the classroom… The Apple Teacher program allows teachers to offer quality education that is meaningful and fun.”

On the program’s website, which went live at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, dozens of posts describe how technology is helping students learn everything from English as a second language to the workings of the human heart. Videos, slideshows and articles explain how to take students on a virtual “fly-over” tour of distant cities, create interactive charts to illustrate patterns in data, and personalize learning for students on the autism spectrum, among other topics.

Working on the Apple Teacher program was an appropriate project for Sister Martha due to her decades of working in high tech and her dedication to the Sisters of the Holy Names’ historic teaching mission, which especially embraces those who are underserved. Sister Martha has encouraged SNJM educators to enroll in the program, both to earn recognition as an Apple Teacher and to learn more about the technology they and their students use in Holy Names schools.

Foundresses Honored at Heritage University

September 21, 2016

In the photo (L-R): Sister Kathleen Ross and Martha Yallup visit with friends at the pow wow.

Two events at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA last week honored the historic accomplishments of its three foundresses.

Two new buildings were dedicated in the names of Martha Yallup and Violet Lumley Rau (deceased), the two Yakama Nation women who recruited Sister Kathleen Ross to join them in starting the university. In addition, the university hosted its first pow wow, in which all three co-founding mothers  were honored. Lila Lumley represented her sister Violet at the ceremonies.

The Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Center will house the Physician Assistant and other medical programs of Heritage University, and the Violet Lumley Rau Center will have administrative offices.

Members of the SNJM Yakima Mission Centre attended the pow wow on campus on Saturday, Sept. 17. As part of the ceremonies, gratitude was expresssed for the three women whose vision and efforts gave residents of the region an important opportunity for quality higher education. People of all ages belonging to various tribes shared traditional dances, drumming and music with an appreciative crowd of faculty, students and community members.

Welcome, New SNJM Associates!

September 15, 2016

There’s always a joyful celebration when new Associates join the Sisters of the Holy Names community. But the ceremony welcoming Ernestina Herrera and Lupita Martinez on Aug. 27, 2016 was a special milestone as the Oregon SNJM Sisters and Associates collaborated to create their first bilingual SNJM Associate ceremony.

Music, introductions, Scripture readings and other parts of the ritual interwove Spanish and English. Each of the Sisters, Associates, friends and family who gathered at St. Mary’s Chapel in Medford, OR had an opportunity to respond to the readings in their first language.

Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM, a member of the U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team, coordinated the efforts of many partners to organize the ceremony. See below for a video recording with highlights of the event. Click here to learn about becoming an SNJM Associate.

Emma Bézaire, SNJM, Appointed to Canadian Religious Conference

September 14, 2016

Emma Bézaire, SNJM has agreed to serve as representative to the Canadian Religious Conference for the U.S.-Ontario Province of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

Paula Demirelli, Assistant to the Director of the CRC, requested the appointment of a Canadian citizen for the post. After being asked by Maureen Delaney, SNJM, U.S.-Ontario Provincial, Sr. Emma graciously accepted. She will attend meetings, participate as a member and report to the Province on CRC activities.

For more information about the CRC, please visit the organization’s website at